Why Are There Ghost Crabs In Wildwood Crest?

From time to time we get some great questions from fans who saw something while on vacation and want to know more about it.

Why Are There Ghost Crabs In Wildwood Crest?

Why Are There Ghost Crabs In Wildwood Crest?

This one comes from the Collins family from Scranton PA. While on vacation this past week they noticed that at night near the end of Wildwood Crest and the beginning of Diamond Beach they would see crabs walk the streets.

This might sound like the plot to a horror movie, “The Night The Crabs Took To The Streets,” but it happens down here.

Let’s address the crab then why we see them in this area.

The crab they are seeing are Ocypodinaes or what we call Ghost Crabs(One version of a Ocypodinae). These crabs are white in color and grow between 2 to 4 inches. They feature eyes that can move almost 360 degrees.

They get their name for a few different reasons. One is due to their color and another is due to them mostly coming out at night.

Ghost crabs live on the beach by burrowing holes down into the sand to protect themselves from the sun and birds (who enjoy to eat them). These holes may be deep but the entrance to them is roughly about 2 inches.

They come out at night to feed so that birds do not come after them. Their meal of choice are sand fleas.

Now on to why we see them at the end of Wildwood Crest and in Diamond Beach.

Ghost Crabs are very shy. Just walking 15 feet away from them is enough to send them running back to their holes. Most of our beaches are populated during the summer which seems to drive the crabs to areas that don’t have much traffic. On our island that’s to the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge. This is a section of beach just past Diamond Beach. For a decent amount of the year this section is roped off for nature to do it’s thing.

Even when this section is open not too many folks head that way as it’s too far from bathings, food and parking. These sky crabs can populate here and not worry about us humans.

At night, when they know it’s safe out, they make their way around town. On streets like Raleigh Ave, the beach and the street are connected. This allows the crabs to walk right on.

So next time your at the end of Wildwood Crest or in Diamond Beach (near the beach), keep an eye out for a Ghost Crab!

CBS Sunday Morning put together a supercut of ghost crabs walking the beach. Check it out below.

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