Every year, tens of millions of red crabs embark on an annual migration across Christmas Island in Australia, from their burrows in the forest to the coast, where they breed and release eggs into the sea. It’s a spectacular sight, lasting two weeks or so, and the annual event draws tourists from around the world.
For the first time ever, you’ll be able to experience this amazing natural event yourself on Google Street View in the coming year. As Google recently posted on its blog, Dr. Alasdair Grigg of Parks Australia will be recording images of this yearly trek using the Street View Trekker.
It’s an arduous process, as swarms of the tiny critters fill the roads, pathways, and beaches of Christmas Island. The tourism board estimates there are 50 million crabs on the island, and they outnumber humans 300,000 to 1.
The crabs have the right of way, and care needs to be taken with every step. The government has even built bridges across major thoroughfares for the crabs, to ensure they arrive at their destination safely.
Grigg told CNET that he wants the Street View project to educate people around the world about this extraordinary annual event.
“We hope people can get a taste of the magnificent nature and the red crab migration through the eyes of the Google Trekker,” Grigg said. “We also hope they are inspired to appreciate the world-class conservation values of the Island”
The crabs spend most of their lives in burrows, staying out of the sunlight and conserving moisture for their annual marathon scuttle. Once the tides, rains, and moon cycle are in alignment, they emerge and begin their march to the coast to spawn and lay eggs in the sand.
Over the past few years, the Google Street View Gallery has explored some of the most remote places on Earth, joining thousands of sheep in the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic, exploring Macchu Picchu in the Andes, and visiting the rim of a volcanic lake in Australia. The tech giant has even partnered with NASA for a tour of the International Space Station.
Google says you’ll be able to experience this spectacular phenomenon yourself with imagery from the Christmas Island collection in early 2018.