See Sand Bubbler Crabs Build Perfect Dome Homes

We advanced primates have come up with countless ways of creating homes, including, for example, using beer cans as construction materials. But simpler creatures in nature also, of course, have their own brilliant ways of building homes. Like sand bubbler crabs, which make little, satisfyingly symmetrical dome homes that wouldn’t be out of place in a Mars colony.

Laughing Squid picked up on a recent video of a sand bubbler crab making a sandy house in Vung Tau, Vietnam. And while you can view that video here, we found a couple more that illustrate the crabs’ penchant for primitive architecture.

In the above video, YouTube user Soham Mane from Ratnagiri, India, shows a crab build a near-flawless dome home. That is until the top of it collapses in on itself due to its own weight.

Watching a sand bubbler crab build its little perfect dome home is a truly charming sight.

Soham Mane

And in the video immediately below, another YouTube user from India, Xandrieth Xs, shows a bubbler building a sturdier, albeit less aesthetically pleasing dome. (We think if the two got together they could nail pinch the perfect sand mansion.)

As the videos show, the crabs, which are native to the tropical Indio-Pacific, build walls radially from their homes’ entrances. Once they seal themselves in, the crabs are then trapped in bubbles of air. This allows the crabs to wait out high tide under ground.

When the tide recedes, the crabs emerge, and consume the sand around them. As they do, they pass the sand through their “mouthparts,” eating any hidden detritus and plankton. They then discard the sand as little balls; ones that end up covering beaches quickly.

Timelapse creator Nils Rohwer shows a consortium of sand bubblers producing the balls in the video below. (Yes, a group of crabs is a “consortium”; or “cast.”) And watching all the crabs ball their way through the shoreline will blow your mind. Or, potentially, make your skin crawl sideways.

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