Rainy season signals crabbing season

Police issue warning to drivers

Crabbing has been a part of the Cayman cultural heritage for many years and the first rains of the season usually signals the start of crab hunting. 

The land crabs, which appear between April and June, take to the roads from the interior of the island, as they make their way to the sea. This also marks the time of year that people take to the roads, bushes and roadsides to try to catch the crabs, usually at nighttime. 

Given this activity, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service is reminding the public to take safety precautions during crab season, including parking vehicles at the side of the road with their parking lights and emergency flashers on. Drivers are also reminded not to swerve their vehicles to avoid running over crabs on the road as this evasive action could cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles and cause an accident. 

Crab catcher Richard Gonzales said he loves to catch crabs just for the fun of it, and this year landed his biggest catch ever. 

“This king of a crab is the biggest one I have ever seen or caught. I am going to put it in a pen in the back yard and feed it lots of good food and then I am going to cook it,” he said. 

Mr. Gonzales also advises people not to go crabbing along main roads because it can prove dangerous as crabs are mostly caught at night.  

“Safety wise, it is not worth it to lose your life for a crab. Try and go in the bushes when you are looking for crabs,” he said. 

The creatures can also give people a terrible pinch with their defensive claws if crabbers are not careful, he warned. 

Mr. Gonzales said there is nothing like the thrill of crab hunting. “Caymanians have done it for a very long time. My parents did it, I did it, and now I am teaching my son – he loves the excitement,” he said. 

“The night we caught the ‘king of crabs,’ three of us decided we were going crabbing – the conditions were perfect after a good shower of rain and the crabs were on the run, just perfect for a crab boil later.” 

Mr. Gonzales said the monster-sized crab was just sitting there and they simply scooped him up. 

When it rains, water fills the crab holes, driving the crabs from their underground homes. After mating, a mass migrations of the crabs occurs with the females returning to the sea to release their fertilized eggs. 

Jordan-Hartmann-and-Richard-Gonzalez-S

Crab catchers Jordan Hartmann, left, and Richard Gonzalez compare a normal size crab to the big one caught last week as Cayman’s crabbing season kicks off. – Photo: Jewel Levy
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