Crabs that look like bejeweled tortoises, and when threatened, fire exits their little behinds… 🐢 🦀 🔥
Native to Fiji 🇫🇯 and protected there from poaching wizards, as well as Muggles. Their shells are so beautiful, wizards feel the need to collect them for outlandish cauldrons! A similar plight to the sea turtles we know and love.
Different variants exist and they are identified by the jewels on their shells, coming in rubies, sapphires, and emeralds. Otherwise, they have grey skin, black eyes, and 6 legs (crab legs, crab claws, tortoise legs, who knows!?! 🤷🏻♀️)
Sometimes these FireCrabs are exported as pets, however special licensing is necessary. Our dear beloved Hagrid (as we say in the South, bless his heart 🙄) decided to cross breed the FireCrab with the Manticore (a very dangerous beast with the head of a man, body of a lion, and tail of a scorpion, what the heck, Hagrid?! How the heck?!! 😳 Okay, another post for another day…)
Let’s figuratively dissect this creature: Crabs 🦀 Aquatic crustaceans in a variety of shapes and sizes. They have exoskeletons and many appendages, similar to spiders, so they shed their outer layer to continue to grow.
In my area, we have lots of Ghost crabs, like the photo above, scuttling around the beaches, in fact a predator to baby sea turtles!
Hehe, this is my watermelon FireCrab.
But anyways, let’s look at the crabs that actually live in Fiji. Go to the location to better understand what FireCrabs might be about:
Coconut crabs Birgus latro
Also known as the Robber Crab or Palm Thief.
Also found on other islands in the Pacific and Indian Ocean, they are the largest terrestrial crustacean at a span of about 3 feet and weighing about 9 pounds! They can be found in the purplish-blue color, like the photo above, or in orangish-red. Makes sense why FireCrabs come in similar colors!
These crabs are enormous!!! They have 4.5 times more the amount of strength in their big claw than a strong human hand grip, and it’s similar to the bite force of hyenas, lions, and tigers. Yikes! But I guess they need a good handle on cracking coconuts…you know, coconuts kill more people than sharks or FireCrabs.
The Coconut Crab also happens to be a grouchy, nonsocial creature…might help to explain the sociable nature of the FireCrab. You certainly don’t want them setting fires often.
Moving on to other Fijian crabs, including the Golden Tree Crabs…
Lemon yellow clawed Fiddlers… (apparently there are different Fiddler dialects within their unique sign language).
Now we need to examine the other side to the FireCrab: Turtles & Tortoises.
Quick Chelonian Facts:
- Chelonians are turtles and tortoises.
- Their carapace is the upper (dorsal) part of the shell (in the case of the FireCrab, the bejeweled portioned), and their plastron is the lower (ventral) part of the shell, with a bridge that connects the two on either side of the body.
- The shell is covered in scales, known as scutes, and continue to grow with the chelonian as it grows. They can never leave it and find a new one…like hermit crabs, like the Coconut Crab.
- They have endoskeletons, like us and unlike crabs. Their spine is fused to the shell as well as their ribs. They have nerve endings in their scutes, so they have been known to enjoy a good back scratching, just like us!
- Tortoises are largely terrestrial and turtles are fully or semi aquatic.
- Like the FireCrab’s issue with wizard poaching, many real turtles and tortoises experience poaching. Most notable the Hawksbill Sea Turtle is poached for their shells to turn into “tortoiseshell” products like glasses and hair clips, and it continues today despite the critically endangered status.
Hawksbill Sea Turtle Eretmochelys imbricata
Found throughout the tropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, eating sponges, mollusks, and crustaceans, etc. They likely visit the same protected habitat of the FireCrab, perhaps if only to lay eggs on the sandy beaches.
For a semi aquatic turtle to examine, we can look at the Common Snapping Turtle Chelydra serpentina
These snappers can be found along the eastern side of North America, from southern Canada on down throughout Florida, inhabiting fresh and brackish waters.
They have a grumpy personality and a nasty bite! Turtles have no teeth but they have serrated and sharp beaks, and these snapping turtles also have fleshy lures on the inside of their mouths that act like worms to lure prey closer and in the blink of an eye, chomp!
Lastly, let’s look at the ultimate tortoises, the Galapagos Tortoises! Chelonidis species (there are about 15 species). As their name suggests, they live on the different islands of the Galapagos in the Pacific Ocean.
Sometimes, these giant land dwelling tortoises are found floating in the ocean from island to island, even with ocean creatures (epibiota) attached to the shells!
These guys love munching on watermelon! I can’t blame them, though; watermelon is my favorite, too!
Watch out watermelon FireCrab! 😳
Ooookay: the FireCrab looks like a terrestrial tortoise with crab claws, probably like the terrestrial Coconut Crab. So I wonder if they have strong claws like the Coconut Crab, personalities like the Coconut Crab and Snapping Turtles, and domed shells like tortoises…pondering…
Then, there’s the defense mechanism…obviously no animal breathes nor farts fire…but wowsers! That would be interesting how that would happen. We know skunks are noxious, plus octopus and squid can disappear in an cloud of ink, but how would igniting a fire be possible? 🤷🏻♀️ well, of course it’s magic, so that’s the easy out, but maybe a rough scale creates enough friction when the FireCrab is startled that it ignites the combustible substance. 🤔
Or maybe, it’s like the Bombardier Beetle…
Check out this YouTube Video for a great explanation:
Amazing, huh?!?! So not that far fetched from reality!
Thank you for indulging me on the FireCrab creature! I had a lot of fun with this one. So much so, don’t be surprised to see more FireCrab stuff on my social media platforms. 😅🐢🦀🔥
P.S. I’m thinking of selling these FireCrabs and other creations to help support conservation programs. A MuggleZoologist Creature Shop? What do y’all think? 😊
Pottermore; Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them; My photos are the watermelon FireCrab, decorated firecrabs, Snapping turtle, and Ghost crab; the rest of the photos are from Google Images. Information from National Geographic, The Galapagos Conservancy, Nature.org, and the Nature Conservancy.