Land crabs becoming nuisance in Martin County during mating season

Causing flat tires, invading pools, tennis courts

STUART, Fla. - Stuart residents say land crabs are taking over the roadways and becoming a nuisance, and are even causing car trouble.

Dennis Culver said he was expecting them this time.

"They come every time this year, I think," said the Stuart resident.

He has lived in the South River subdivision for almost two years, and he said their mating season, and perhaps the recent tropical storm, has them coming out of their burrows and into the streets.

"I've hit them myself, you just can't help it sometimes!" he explained. "They were all over everywhere. They were getting in the pool, and all around the pool, and all over the tennis court, and everybody that came to swim said, ‘Oh my gosh, there's crabs in the courtyard, there's crabs in the parking lot!'"

Anthony Ludovico is a local mechanic who said he's changed more than double the normal amount of flat tires this past week, and he thinks the crabs could be to blame.

"Recently, we've been having a lot of tires come in with punctures and there's nothing in them," said Ludovico. "Just repairing the tires, a flat tire repair, and there's nothing inside the tires."

On Friday, Ludovico said he found what he thought was a land crab claw embedded into a flat tire.

"I didn't know what it was at first," he recalled. "I thought it was a pen, then I tried to grab it, and it was really hard and hollow."

He said a tire's rubber is tough, but when it comes to protecting your tires, it's better to play it safe and avoid running over anything in the road.

"The only thing I could advise is to drive with caution, and watch out for the crabs," Ludovico laughed.

For Culver, he said that's easier said than done.

"There was just so many, there was like sixty or seventy or eighty, and you couldn't miss it, because the roadway was almost black. If you slow up, they just sit there and just keep coming," said Culver.

With a few more weeks of mating season to come, he'll just have to keep waiting-- for the crabs to cross the road.

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