Thousands of crabs wash up on U.K. beaches

Jan. 5, 2011 at 8:04 PM
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LONDON, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Thousands of dead crabs have washed ashore along Britain's east coast in the county of Kent, and environmentalists say the prolonged cold weather is to blame.

Huge numbers of Velvet swimming crabs, also known as devil crabs, are thought to be victims of lower-than-average sea temperatures caused by Britain's coldest December in 120 years, The Daily Mail reported Wednesday.

More than 40,000 of Britain's largest swimming crab littered beaches along the Kent coastline, the newspaper said.

"We suspect that climate change and warmer weather has lured the crabs towards the shoreline," coastal warden Tony Sykes said.

"We believe the sudden temperature drop causes the crabs to suffer from hypothermia and die," he said.

Coast Project Manager Tony Childs said he was surprised at the large numbers of dead crabs.

"We had a crash in numbers last year and we hadn't expected such a large population," he said.

Cleanup would best be left to natural events, he said.

"As happens with the circle of life in nature, we expect the crabs to be naturally dispersed from our shores very quickly by our local seagulls," he said.

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