Brit tourists warned as thousands of venomous spider crabs swarm beach in Cornwall | The Sun

BEACH-going Brits are being warned after THOUSANDS of venomous spider crabs have overran a popular tourist spot in Cornwall.

Just as holidaymakers thought it was safe to go back in the water after a terrifying shark attack, a beach in St Ives is now swarmed with the creepy crawlies.

The stunning mass of crustaceans have gathered in the shallow water at Porthgwidden Beach to shed their shells before returning to the depths.

Beach-goers on the Cornwall coastline were given a fright just weeks after the area became overran with jellyfish in the wake of July's record-breaking heatwave.

But some brave snorkelers took the chance to wade above the carpet of crabs to view the hair-raising spectacle.

Spider crabs are instantly identified by their long legs and pincer claws, and have a venomous bite that is poisonous to their prey but harmless to humans.

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While it is not unusual to see them in UK waters, mass gatherings like this one are becoming more common in the summer due to rising sea temperatures.

The crabs swarm together in such staggering numbers as part of a survival technique to protect themselves while they moult their hard exoskeleton.

So paddling in the popular seaside spot will become far more appealing in a few weeks, when the crabs will regrow their tough outer shell and dive back down to depths of around 300ft.

Kate Lowe, a marine photographer, captured the event in the same week a woman snorkeller was bitten by a blue shark further around the Cornish coast, off Penzance.

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Kate said: "I go snorkelling most of the time throughout the year but I have never seen spider crabs in such numbers.

"When we turned up at the beach it looked as though there were lots of dark rocks under the surface.

"But it turned out that there were thousands of crabs just two or three steps into the water.

"It was just really incredible, they were only knee deep. I was able to float on the water above them and tried not to step on them.

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"A lot of the tourists were squealing at the sight of them.

"Their shedded shells were just floating around."

The mass-moulting caused panic across beaches in St Ives as the coastline became carpeted in thousands of the venomous crabs.

But the National Coastwatch St Ives told Cornwall Live: "they are just the shells of a crab, they are not dead.

"They shed shells for new ones."

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