Thousands of dead crabs have washed up on U.K. shores, the latest in a recent slew of mass animal die-offs around the world.
Scientists say prolonged cold weather is what caused more than 40,000 Velvet swimming crabs to wash up along Britain’s east coast in the county of Kent. Britain has endured its coldest December in 120 years, which caused sea temperatures to drop below average, the Daily Mail reported Wednesday.
The country’s largest swimming crabs, also known as devil crabs, may have moved closer to the shoreline due to warmer weather caused by climate change, coastal warden Tony Sykes told the newspaper.
“We believe the sudden temperature drop causes the crabs to suffer from hypothermia and die,” he said.
Coast Project Manager Tony Childs said there was no cleanup planned, and that officials would let nature run its course.
“As happens with the circle of life in nature, we expect the crabs to be naturally dispersed from our shores very quickly by our local seagulls,” he said.