A few years ago, a girlfriend and I moved from the relative sanity of central Florida, to a town in south Florida called Port Saint Lucie. By all accounts, a lovely place, home of the spring training camp for the New York Mets I do believe. A high concentration of pick-up trucks with rebel flag bumper stickers perhaps, but a booming city nonetheless, growing by leaps and bounds.
I think we had lived there a week at the most when I first saw one of these critters. I was leaning up against my car in the parking lot of a Target one night, waiting for my girl who was inside shopping. I was minding my own business, smoking a cig and enjoying the gorgeous southern Florida night air, when I heard a clicking noise off to my left. I turned to look, and there was this very large, bright blue crab with a giant claw, skittering side-ways across the pavement straight at me, it’s enormous claw held high in the air as if to scare me.
It did a little. I mean, here we were a good seven or eight miles inland, and a giant crab was tooling across a parking lot at nine o’clock at night, headed straight for me as if on the attack.
Freaked me out a bit.
I got out of his way.
I went inside the store, and asked one of the cashiers about it, and her reply was, “Oh that? That’s just a land crab”.
A land crab?
Now I’m from New York originally, and after seven years living in Orlando, I thought I had run into some pretty exotic wildlife and insects, but a land crab? Really?
She proceeded to tell me how they were harmless, they made burrows in the soft sandy ground, and that you wanted to be careful not to run them over in the road as they will sure as shit give you a flat tire. She stressed that although they are rather timid, you don’t want to go and try picking one up, as that big claw is capable of taking off a finger.
Sounded like exaggeration to me.
I went back outside, but the crab had fucked off.
I lived there for about a year and a half before deciding that moving back to Orlando was the better choice for me, and encountered only three or four more of these tenacious little buggers during that time. A particularly memorable encounter happened as I was walking across a baseball field around dusk, and I almost stepped on one accidentally. It was a big one too. Bright blue and pissed off. It started using it’s big-ass claw as a club, and thumped me on the leg with it two or three times to warn me off. Despite a sudden urge to kick the little bastard, I backed off and gave it it’s space.
Anyway. The world is indeed a crazy place, and yes Virginia, there are land crabs.