Red crab migration on Christmas Island

Every year a mass of over 150 million red crabs make their way across the island

On Christmas Island in Australia one of the largest migrations in the animal kingdom can be watched. Every year around 150 million red crabs head out in the wet season. They make their way from the forest to the beach to mate and lay eggs.

Christmas Island was discovered by a British explorer in 1643, and as you can guess it happened on Christmas Day, hence the name. Its population is around 2000 people, most of whom are of Chinese descent. 

It’s one of the largest migrations in the animal kingdom: millions of crabs get together to mate. It’s a sea of red crabs with millions of legs and claws – and you can see this spectacle in action. 

A huge red crab on Christmas Island.

Best time for the red crabs on Christmas Island

Every year in October and/or November about 150 million red crabs migrate to the sea to mate. In a mass parade that covers the island like a blanket, the crabs take about five days to get from the inlands to the coast. 

As soon as this five-day trek commences, the island is transformed into a red sea of crabs. Forests, roads, golf courses and sports fields are run over by the small, red creatures. In a huge, red mass they move across the island, and their trek can take up to 18 days in total. 

Diving and snorkelling

Besides the crabs, Christmas Island is one of the most beautiful diving and snorkelling spots in the world. Its water is crystal-clear and its unspoiled marine life boasts around 200 kinds of coral, and if you’re lucky you can even encounter a whale shark, one of the red crab’s few natural predators.

Visiting Christmas Island

Christmas Island is located south of Java (Indonesia) and was placed under the authority of the Australian Commonwealth in 1958, it is an external territory of Australia. There are flights to the island from the mainland.

My Tips

Show all Bucket List Tips on Australia

Read My Tips

all 18 articles on Australia

Show all articles