Adult coconut crabs feed on fruits, nuts, seeds, and the pith of fallen trees, but will also eat carrion and other organic matter opportunistically. Anything left unattended on the ground is a potential source of food which they will investigate and may carry away - thereby getting the alternative name of "Robber crab." The species is popularly associated with the coconut palm, yet coconuts are not generally a significant part of its diet. Although it lives in a burrow the crab has been filmed climbing coconut and pandanus trees. There is no film showing a crab selectively picking coconut fruit, though they might dislodge ripe fruit that otherwise would fall naturally. Climbing is an immediate escape route (if too far from the burrow) to avoid predation (when young) by large sea birds, or cannibalism (at any age) by bigger, older crabs.
Photograph courtesy of Ocean Treasures
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