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Red Crabs Pile Up On Monterey Bay Beaches

MONTEREY (CBS SF) – By the thousands, red crabs are piling up on the shore at Del Monte Beach in Monterey – the victims of the El Niño-warmed waters.

The scene has drawn dozens to the beach over the last week to see the red carpet of crabs covering the shoreline.

Marine biologists say the crabs are native to the warm waters found in Baja and the Gulf of California, but as the waters off Northern California coast have heated up during this El Niño year, they have migrated northward.

They spend their lives drifting en masse in a water column offshore, but strong currents and churning surf will wash them up on shore.

Biologists say they are completely harmless, although they advise that they shouldn't be eaten.

The crabs do provide an important food source for seabirds, fish, dolphins and the migrating whales seen along the coast this time of year.

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