Mass Crab Deaths: 40,000 Dead Devil Crabs Wash Up In Britain Due To Hypothermia In Freezing Sea?

By on Jan 6, 2011 in Europe, Science, World Comments
Devil crabs wash ashore
Dr. Alasdair Bruce, one of the experts studying the dead crabs.
Image Credit: Phil Houghton/

After the reported incident of mass birds deaths in Arkansas and Louisiana, in Britain, more than 40,000 of dead Devil crabs also known as Velvet swimming crabs has been reported being washed up along the Kent coast.

According to a Thanet Geologist named Dr. Alasdair Bruce, his first thought about the mass crab kill was due to some oil contamination because of a large deposits of black sand also being washed ashore. However, he said that; “I am very pleased to say it wasn’t. The sand itself is naturally black.”

Reports said that environmental experts believed that the cold weather in Britain last December was the reason of the mass crab death. It was said that it was the coldest December in 120 years, which left sea temperatures much lower than average.

“We believe the sudden temperature drop causes the crabs to suffer from hypothermia and die,” coastal warden Tony Sykes was quoted saying.

The Britain Devil crabs or Velvet swimming crabs were found dead along with smaller numbers of sponges, whelks and anemones. Dead crabs were also found from beaches at Cliftonville, Westbrook and Kingsgate while smaller numbers have washed up between Broadstairs and Ramsgate, reports said.

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