• Aerial View of Padre Island National Seashore

    Padre Island

    National Seashore Texas

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  • Park Phone issues

    The visitor center main phone line and fax line are not working. To reach the park visitor center, call (361) 949-8069. Fax to (361) 949-7091, Attention: Visitor Center. We apologize for the inconvenience.

  • Bird Island Basin Campground rehabilitation starts August 18, 2014

    The second part of a project to repair facilities and rebuild eroded shoreline at Bird Island Basin Campground begins August 18. Minor disruptions of activities in the immediate area may occur. None of the work should affect use of the boat ramp.

  • South Beach closure

    Tropical Storm Dolly, going ashore on the gulf coast of Mexico, is causing coastal flooding on Padre Island National Seashore. The gate onto South Beach will close at 6:00 PM on Tuesday, September 2. The beach will reopen when driving conditions improve.

Blackback Land Crab

Blackback Land Crab

This Blackback land crab is sitting next to the exoskeleton that it has just molted.

National Geographic

If you happen to be cooking out on the beach at night and you feel something stumble into your toes, it may be a Blackback land crab looking for a late night snack. This colorful, reddish-orange crab with a large, black spot on its carapace, can be around 4.5 inches wide, and is found along the Eastern Atlantic as well as Gulf coastlines.

While it is a land crab that burrows in marshes, mangroves and beaches, it must return to the ocean to breed. There, its larvae are released into the water. It also needs to enter the saltwater shallows to moisten its gills. When Blackback land crabs molt, they survive by creating a temporary shell using a combination of air and internal fluids to increase the pressure inside of their bodies. This “air skeleton” creates a temporary tightness until their newly secreted larger shell hardens. While this crab is maily an herbivore, it will also feed on animal matter, so be sure to keep a close eye on your campstoves and grill pits or your dinner may disappear.

Did You Know?

Beach wheelchairs are available for loan, but must be returned by the Visitor Center's closing time.

Padre Island National Seashore has a wheelchair designed for use on loose sand available for loan at no charge. Users must leave a driver's license or their personal wheelchair at the information desk while the beach wheelchair is on loan. More...