Coconut crab

Birgus latro

Fascinating Facts

  • Coconut crabs are a type of hermit crab and are the world’s largest terrestrial arthropod (up to 3 feet across!).
  • Unlike most other hermit crabs, only juveniles use shells to protect their abdomens; older coconut crabs develop a hard skin.
  • They cannot swim, and will drown if immersed in water for long.
  • They have large muscular claws to help open coconuts.
  • Coconut crabs are hunted extensively for food, which can be problematic due to their long lifespan and slow growth rate.
  • They can live to be over 60 years old!


Coconut crabs live in rock crevices and burrow along the coast. They are nocturnal and feed on coconuts, fruit, and leaves. If coconuts aren’t already available on the ground, the coconut crab can climb trees to cut them down.

Status in the Wild

Data Deficient – IUCN 1996


Found throughout tropical Indo-Pacific oceanic islands and offshore islets.

Location in the Zoo

Invertebrates Zone of the Sculpture Learning Plaza

Animals & Exhibits