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Massive swarm of tiny red crabs invade California beach

By Daniel Uria
Massive swarm of tiny red crabs invade California beach
Scientists in California say changes in tide caused by El Niño are responsible for a horde of thousands of crabs seen on Newport Beach. The 1 to 3-inch red crabs typically inhabit the waters near Baja, but find themselves in Newport due to the weather. Officials say it will take about a week to remove the dead crabs from the shore. Screen capture/Anne Amundson Hoover/Facebook

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., May 17 (UPI) -- Thousands of tiny red crabs were spotted along the shore and in the water in California's Newport Beach.

Facebook user Anne Amundson Hoover shared video of the phenomenon, showing some of the crabs swimming playfully about in the water while some remained washed up along the beach.

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"The little red crab/lobsters are back!" Hoover wrote.

According to KABC, the massive horde of crabs were brought to the beach by El Niño after a similar phenomenon occurred last year.

Scientists say the 1 to 3-inch long crabs are usually found off the coast of Baja but find themselves in Newport Beach due to the change in tides brought on by El Niño.

Newport Beach officials said some of the crabs tend to rot, but will likely remain on the beach for at least a week as they are forced to rely on the tides to sweep them away.

"On the ocean beaches because it's grunion season we can't use mechanical cleaners," Newport Beach Municipal Operations Director Mike Pisani said. "We have the seawall, we have to hand-rake, haul the crabs in trashcans over the wall and dump them in trucks. They'll keep coming up with the high tide so we'll just keep doing until there's no more."

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