There isn’t enough Old Bay Seasoning on the planet for this monster. The website Weird Whitstable,12 and The Sunday Express,3 has broken a story on a giant crab purportedly lurking Kent Harbour ’round Whitstable.
Quinton Winter, owner of Weird Whitstable, told The Sunday Express he spotted something huge near the shore while crabbing last summer.
“It had glazed blank eyes on stalks, swivelling wildly and it clearly was a massive crab with crushing claws. Before this incident I thought the aerial photo showed an odd-shaped sand bank. Now I know better.”
A quick visit to FotoForensics4 suggests legitimacy for the photo, but enthusiasm must be tempered with skepticism no matter how small the ‘s’. After all, if something looks like it’s too good to be true, it is.
Are there giant crabs? Yes, Virginia! They exist as certainly as butter, lemon, and Old Bay Seasoning exist! Let’s meet some of the biggest specimens currently known to mankind.
Pseudocarcinus gigas, or the Tasmanian giant crab, can weigh as much as 30 pounds. One specimen by the name Claude had his fifteen minutes of fame a few years back! He’s a big boy and was only a baby! While Claude and his kin bear a superficial resemblance, the dimensions don’t even come close the featured monster.
Throughout the Indian and Pacific oceans dwells the world’s largest hermit crab. Known as the coconut crab, or Birgus latro, it can grow more than a yard long and weigh nearly ten pounds. These crustaceans are harmless to humans, enjoying their eponymous coconuts and bananas, supplementing their diet with dead animals and baby turtles. Just don’t get too close, since these bastards can give a nasty pinch. Coconut crabs can’t survive immersion in water, having adapted to a terrestrial lifestyle.5 Cold water ’round the UK, different morphology, the photo doesn’t show a coconut crab.
Dwarfing them all is the Japanese spider crab, Macrocheira kaempferi, with a leg span close to 12 feet, and tipping the scales at 42 pounds, these monsters prefer being 150 to 2,000 feet below the surface. Compared with Quinton’s photo, there is no resemblance between the giant and a JSC.
Bringing us to a tall tale making the rounds on the internet. From early April to mid-June 1945, the largest amphibious assault led by the US Army and allies raged in the Pacific. Supposedly a group of Japanese soldiers stumbled upon a beach littered with the dead bodies of soldiers, and stalking the corpses, were Japanese spider crabs doing their part to keep the beach clean.6 Considering their gracile anatomy, they’re not built to come up on dry land, casting doubt on this war story.
This tale could be a recapitulation of the legends surrounding the Heikegani, or samurai crab. Japan’s seat of power was up for grabs in the 12th century, and the Taira and Minamoto clans fought tooth and nail for the throne. Their final battle was fought near the Dan-no-ura Bay. The Taira, also known as the Heike, were hopelessly outnumbered. Wanting to avoid dishonor, their seven year old Emperor Antoku was drowned in the Shimonoseki Straits. His samurai also preferred death to surrender, drowning themselves alongside their former regent. The crabs that ate the corpses on the sea floor are now considered to be the reincarnated souls of those warriors, bearing angry faces on their carapaces.