We have been in Thailand for just a short time, and we’ve already spotted a fantastic neighborhood in Koh Chang. Our first day in Koh Chang, we walked along the beach which was a stones throw away from our hotel. As we walked along the beach, we found an incredible neighborhood. It’s not the sort of neighborhood I’d want to live in, but incredible it was!
You see, it was a neighborhood of small crabs that had dug holes in the sand. At first glance, it didn’t look like much, but on closer inspection, there are the larger holes that looked like someone used their thumb to punch an opening in the sand, to the smaller holes that look like a coffee stirrer was used. The crabs create these beautiful patterns which radiate from the center of their homes, and this will go on many feet. There were little sun bursts everywhere, as if the design was done intentionally.
I was amazed at the patterns that were created, and decided to look even closer. The crabs are not what you would call “social creatures”, so whenever I got close, they decided to flee to the safety of their abode. All of these star patterns are paths that the crabs use when clearing out their holes, and they arrange hundreds of balls of sand in military precision.
For scale, think of a crab that’s only 5mm across. Outside its burrow where rows and rows of different sized balls of sand. Some were larger than the crab itself, and others were exceptionally small (1mm or so). I would have completely missed how small they were if I had not gotten on my knees to take a look. Imagine arranging rows and columns of various sized rocks outside your front door. You’ve arranged the bigger Smart car sized boulders down one alley, and the tennis ball sized rocks down a different alley, with every size in between.
Nature is amazing!
Once I realized how much work each of these tiny crabs had done, I felt bad how I was stepping on their “yards”. We came to Thailand looking to see some of nature’s biggest creatures in her tigers and elephants, and it’s a tiny easily overlooked critter that I find so interesting. While the architecture was grand, and the inhabitants were not exactly friendly, I’d say the fantastic neighborhood we found in Koh Chang was pretty impressive.
What sorts of animal architectures have you seen?