Millions of ruby-red crabs have begun to undertake their annual march from their forest floor homes to the ocean to breed on Christmas Island – via specifically-designed ‘crab bridges’.
The writhing scarlet mass have abandoned their burrows and embarked on the arduous trek to the Pacific Ocean in the world’s biggest annual land crab migration.
Photographer Kirsty Faulkner captured the stunning sight as the Christmas Island Red Crabs navigated rocky terrain, busy roads and specially built crab bridges and tunnels – designed to reduce casualties – this weekend.
Safe journey! Thousands of Christmas Island crabs use a specially designed bridge to make their way from the forest to breed in the ocean
Ms Faulkner, who moved to Christmas Island years ago, said: ‘It’s just incredible, everybody that you see, whether they have grown up on the island or people like me who moved here more recently, think it’s amazing.
‘It’s a wonderful thing for people to see, it just never gets old.’
Ms Faulkner, 40, originally from Perth, Australia, said the crabs are half-way down the island scuttling down roads which are blocked off specially and using bridges and tunnels to either scamper over or under roads.
Kirsty said: ‘When they migrate we’re very conscious about where we walk and drive.
‘We have road closures which depend on where the crabs are.
The big journey: The Christmas Island Red Crab a species of crustacean unique to the small Australian territory, and it is estimated that around 45million make the journey to the ocean every year
All clear: During the migration period the state government closes the roads on the island to ensure the brightly coloured crabs have a safe journey to the ocean
Careful: Two children try to navigate through the army of tiny crabs crossing the road on Christmas Island
‘The National Parks team put up barriers along a lot of the roads on the island to keep them safe.
‘My children, aged 11 to 15, use a garden rake to gently move the crabs out of the way on the road to make sure they don’t get run over.
‘The crabs can look a little bit creepy on the time-lapse video but it really is amazing to see.’
The crabs can be seen navigating busy roads and specially built crab bridges and tunnels – designed to reduce casualties
Christmas Island crabs range in colour from the spectacular bright red seen in most of the species to orange and even purple
The Christmas Island Red Crab a species of crustacean unique to the small Australian territory, and it is estimated that around 45millions live on the island.
During the migration period the state government closes the roads on the island to ensure the brightly coloured crabs have a safe journey to the ocean.
Once born, the baby red crab makes a nine-day journey back to its parents on the Island, braving attacks from predators such as the yellow crazy ant.
Several introduced species threatens the crab populations on the island, and it is estimated that around ten to 15 million crabs have been wiped out since 1990.