Every year, many thousands of people travel for the holidays. We are flooded with images of crowded airports and train stations each holiday season as newscasters announce weather conditions and travel delays. Even Santa’s travels are tracked and celebrated! Getting home for the holidays is a long-standing tradition, as many people think it is important to be with family and friends at this time of year.
But did you know that some animals also travel long and far to gather together with their own kind? Animal migrations happen all over the world during many different times of year. Some animals travel further than others, but most animals are traveling to find a mate and start a family.
Take a look at these three videos below about the red crabs who migrate across Christmas Island, Australia. Every year from October to December, seasonal rain provides the right conditions to initiate a great march from the forest to the beach to breed and spawn; stopping humans in their tracks.
Incredibly, as if these tiny, determined creatures were not interesting enough this breeding routine is also connected to the lunar cycle. Females release their eggs precisely in time with the turn of the high tide during the last lunar quarter (Parks Australia).
While their travels have already happened this year, it’s fun to take a look at these amazing animals that live on this island named after Christmas!
What did your students find interesting about these animals? Would your students like to visit Christmas Island? Be sure to use our MapMaker Interactive to locate Christmas Island for your classroom! What kind of climate does the island have during the red crab migration season?
Times when travel is prevalent are great opportunities for you to discuss animal migration in your classroom. Check out the resources in the toolkit below on more great ideas for discussing this topic with your students!
More related resources from National Geographic Education
National Geographic Education Collection: Great Migrations