Roads turn scarlet as flame red crabs begin annual migration on Christmas Island - Reuters News Agency

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Roads turn scarlet as flame red crabs begin annual migration on Christmas Island

Roads on Christmas Island were closed as they turned scarlet with thousands of red crabs emerging from the forest to begin their annual migration journey to the ocean on the island off the coast of Western Australia.

Video obtained by Reuters showed large numbers of red crabs huddling to climb a crab bridge built to help the creatures cross the road while multiple roads were also closed to protect the animals.

According to Parks Australia, the annual migration starts with the first rainfall of the wet season, usually in October or November, but can sometimes be as late as December or January. Red crabs all over the island, up to the millions in numbers, leave their homes at the same time and start marching towards the ocean to mate and spawn, creating a flame red spectacle on the island, the conservation agency said.

After mating, the male crabs will journey back to the jungle first as the females stay behind in the burrows for about two weeks to lay eggs. Each female crab can produce up to 100,000 eggs, which she holds in a brood pouch, Parks Australia said.

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