Constantia crab

I’m still wondering about that crab we saw yesterday. Under a car. In Constantia.

Thing is, I always thought crabs lived near the sea. (Apart from Coconut crabs, that is.)
And this was some distance away from the sea.

I’ve been doing some rudimentary calculations and worked out that the most accessible sea to Alphen Drive is about 12.4km away.

The route the crab may have taken up the M3.

There is sea nearer than that as the crow flies, but it’s over a massive mountain and anyway, crabs can’t fly.
And bearing in mind that this crab was only about 8cm across, that 12.4km is the equivalent of you or I walking to the moon.

So what exactly was this crab doing under a car in Constantia?
Do we get land crabs in South Africa? In Cape Town?
Or was it just on holiday? Constantia’s Green Belt is very pretty.

Google has been unhelpful and I’m not exactly sure who else to ask. Especially after some of the results I got when I searched for information about “crabs” on the internet. Goodness me.

I’m quite sure that’s not the kind of thing you’d find in a nice suburb like Constantia.

UPDATE: This tweet leads me to look into Potamidae spp. A-ha!

12 thoughts on “Constantia crab

  1. Im no crab expert but I do know that there are planty of fresh water crabs. There are also planty of streams in Constantia so its a crab thats also quite far from a stream but presumably a walkable distance. Even if thats crab walking.

  2. I was about to say Freshwater crab, but it appears you beat me to it.

    You can find them up in Silvermine too.

    Another rudimentary theory is that a gull could have picked it up and dropped it while trying to get away from other gulls. But that’s a long way to fly with a crab in the beak.

  3. It was probably a freshwater crab 🙂

    “The distributional data indicates that there is a high degree of endemisim in southern Africa’s freshwater crab fauna at the species level… Four South African endemics ‘Potamonautes brincki, P. granularis, P. parvicorpus & P. parvispina are found in the mountain streams and rivers associated with the fynbos vegetation zone of the Western Cape Province.”

    (The Status and Distribution of Freshwater Biodiversity in Southern Africa By Will Darwall, K. Smith, W.R.T. Darwall, K.G. Smith, D. Tweddle and P. Skelton, D. Tweddle, P. Skelton)

    So now you know!

  4. Yikes! Perhaps the apocolypse is coming and they are to take over the planet? A friend of ours (wendy’s mum) found one in her garden too – in Edgemead! Also a good distance from any sea…

  5. When kids, we pulled them out of the streams around Joburg with Vienna sausage and string and kept them in our fish tanks. They grow quite large when fed on Boerewors.

  6. Did you take it home and give it the life it deserves in your vegan friendly garden? I hope you didn’t eat it.

  7. Was also wondering, if you found it near Constantia Village if you manged to check the sell by date?

    Was the crab off or just off course?

  8. We used to have lots of them in our garden when we lived at Zeekoevlei and around those parts they were called land crabs because they were not of the marine variety. Bigger and blacker that those on the seashore. Nice pic.

  9. Philip Stranex > Indeed. Although it was a fair distance from the stream – exploring, perhaps.

    Reflex > Or… it could have walked up the M3.

    Andrew >Fairly near, yes.

    Tara > Well that’s fairly descriptive. Thanks.

    purpleronnie >Yours is the best theory so far. And the scariest.

    Andrew > Freshwater crabs are big on sausages… you live and learn.

    Heather Mills > It would only have eaten the frogs.

    Reflex > Just down the road – more coming on that story, I feel… Watch this space.

    Val >Welcome back! Apparently land crab and freshwater crab are interchangeable. As long as it’s not marine-based.

  10. This is the Cape river crab, Potamonautes perlatus, its very common and lives in river and streams. Freshwater crabs are common in South Africa.

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