Why did the crabs cross the street?
Phenomenon at the North Sea: mass migration of Chinese woolly crabs
German drivers know wild animals that unexpectedly cross the streets or frogs on their way to their spawning grounds. The massive incursion of the Chinese woolly crab causes fear and problems.
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Chinese mitten crabs are currently en route to the North Sea, sometimes in large numbers. In Thedinghausen there are hundreds: "At night and at dusk they wander en masse," said Sönke Haverich from the municipality in the Verden district.
So far, the animals have only been seen sporadically, suddenly a great many are there. "I can well imagine that one or the other would be afraid to drive there when the crabs cross the road by the hundreds." Warning signs have been put up to reduce the risk of accidents.
The animals, which get their name from the hairy claws, come from China. They came to Germany with cargo ships and spread mainly near the North Sea coast.
Woolly crabs have lived in Germany for over 100 years
For the first time, crabs were found in 1912 in the Aller, a tributary of the Weser. The adult animals live in fresh water. At the end of their life they run towards the North Sea to mate and lay their eggs. According to the Naturschutzbund (Nabu), up to 900,000 eggs per animal are laid in brackish water.
How many woolly crabs currently live in Germany is unknown. "They can develop quite well in our latitudes," says Arne von Brill from Nabu in Verden. The number of enemies is small, only a few birds such as seagulls and herons eat the crabs.
According to a document published by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation in Bonn, woolly crabs have already been detected in Baden-Württemberg. (hau / dpa)
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