Tanzania: Wanyama

Off the coast of Tanzania is Zanzibar island. This island is home to the largest crabs on earth, the coconut crabs.

At up to 1 m (3 ft) long, coconut crabs are not simply the largest land crabs. They are the largest arthropods, the group that includes insects, spiders and crustaceans, that live on land. These crabs has the advantage of living underwater where its weight is supported.

Despite their name they eat a varied diet, including lots of fleshy fruit, and they also prey on smaller crabs.

When they decide to eat a coconut, they rip strips of husk off with their pincers, then hit it repeatedly until it breaks open.

They live in underground burrows, lined with fibers from coconut husks. Unlike most crabs, they are almost entirely land-based, only returning to the sea to lay their eggs.


To help Martin wrap his head around this giant crab we turned to our favorite oceanic adventures, the Octonauts

The Octonauts can be found streaming on Netflix, Netflix Kids, and Hoopla, as well as selected scenes and episodes on YouTube or you can buy it for download on Apple iTunes, Google Play Movies, Amazon Video, and FandangoNOW.

We watch it on Netflix and the Coconut Crab episode is Season 2 Episode 3. The coconut crabs are also in the most recent movie “The Octonauts and the Ring of Fire”. Kids can learn some really cool facts about coconut crabs in this episode and I do love me some educational programming 🙂

The Serengeti

On the mainland of Tanzania you can find the famous Serengeti, an ecosystem in Northern Tanzania. The Serengeti is home to the great annual wildebeest migration. More than 1,500,000 wildebeest, 200,000 zebra and 300,000 Thomson’s gazelle join the migration. Unsurprisingly, large predators follow close behind and can add quite a lot of excitement to the migration.

I grew up with a wooden puzzle of Africa filled with different animals and so many of those animals participate in the great migration or fill their stomachs during the migration. So we pulled this beauty out and did the puzzle all while talking about the different animals.

We were on a puzzle high, so we pulled out another African animal puzzle that we have and had a blast putting that one together too! This time we talked about what animals are predators and what animals wouldn’t be drinking next to each other.

I am always blown away by the things we can learn from what we already own and these two puzzles are no exception! Take a look around your own home, maybe you have a book, puzzle, stuffed animal or game that can be the perfect vehicle for teaching your explorer all about something new.

For more activities and crafts all about African Animals check out our adventures in the Ivory Coast, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Ethiopia!

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