Now underway, the migration causes concern to drivers who try to swerve in an often futile attempt not to kill the crustaceans. The crabs are a nuisance to residents, but the sight of their road-crossing is a wonder for tourists and other first-time onlookers.
A carrion bird flies over the remains of crushed crabs as they cross a road after spawning in the sea in Giron, Cuba, April 9, 2022.
“They got here before us,” said Amaury Urra, a 50-year-old hiking guide who spent his entire life in this part of the Cienega de Zapata, the largest wetland in the Caribbean, particularly picturesque for the backdrop of turquoise sea waters and the coastal cliffs. ″We’re used to this.″
A crab walks on a rock after spawning in the sea in Giron, Cuba, April 10, 2022.
This year, the crabs started their journey early. At the end of March, the municipal authorities issued a warning to drivers to avoid traveling in the morning and evening hours – the favorite crossing times for the crabs. Environmentalists usually demand the closure of the main road, especially at key migration times.
Thousands of crabs cross a road after spawning in the sea in Giron, Cuba, April 9, 2022.
The passage of the red crustaceans – the species is called gecarcinus ruricola – could last until July. The largest amount of traffic occurs between April and May. Residents have to be careful: When the crabs feel threatened, they can puncture car tires with their pincers.
A crab walks on a rock after spawning in the sea while a fisherman rests nearby in Giron, Cuba, April 10, 2022.
Official figures estimate that some 3.5 million crabs die each season on the road, many crushed by passing vehicles. They take a minute and a half to cross.
Crabs cross a road after spawning in the sea along with the remains of other crabs that were run over by vehicles in Giron, Cuba, April 9, 2022.
This type of crab lives and migrates in the Bahamas, Nicaragua, Jamaica and Dominica. But only here, and perhaps in another sector of the coast toward the neighboring province of Cienfuegos, does its path collide so dramatically with human traffic.
A vintage American car drives down a road as a crab tries to cross in Giron, Cuba, April 9, 2022.