It sounds like the plot of an admittedly less scary Stephen King novel: Mutant crabs are terrorizing Maine! But unfortunately for Maine residents — and more so the state's mussels and clams — the crabs are an aggressive reality.
They're so unusually strong that scientists are actually measuring their endurance by putting them on treadmills.
Green crabs are native to Maine, and are pretty tame. But in the last few years, a genetically distinct group of crabs from Nova Scotia has moved south, and has been devouring other fish in the area.
They also shred eelgrass as they hunt, further screwing up the environment.
Locals are particularly concerned about how hungry the mutant crabs are for mussels and clams, which are important to the local economy.
So why have these Canadian crabs come down to bother Mainers? The answer, as usual, seems to be climate change. In the past 10 years, the green crab population in Maine has exploded, and biologists blame warming waters.
And now, green crabs that have mutated to be genetically different — and apparently much crankier — have arrived.
"Anytime I went down to grab one, they went to grab me instead," Louis Logan, a graduate student at the University of New England, told the Associated Press.
But as scientists try to study the newcomers to figure out why they're so aggressive, the crabs apparently turn their rage onto them.
Just imagine a mutant crab instead. (Giphy)
So it sounds like having citizens actively chasing down the crabs might not work. Instead, the Department of Marine Resources is recommending that municipalities trap the crabs to remove them from the habitats that are important for fishers.