• 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.

Ghost Crab


Ghost crabs camouflage well in their sandy homes.

NPS Photo

Ghost crabs, also called Sand crabs, are so named because of their ability to blend into the sandy beaches and dunes in which they live. Six strong legs are capable of carrying Ghost crabs along at speeds up to 10 mph, allowing them to disappear quickly from sight (yet another reason for the name). During the day, they spend most of their time housekeeping and digging their burrows. Extending from the carapace, or top section of exoskeleton, are two black eyes that are able to see 360 degrees simultaneously; however, they are unable to see directly overhead. You can often spot ghost crabs at night, which is when they feed on other crabs, clams, lizards, insects and detritus.

Ghost crabs make golf ball-sized entrance holes in the dry sand. These tunnels can go deeper than three to four feet, extending to the water table below. Their sandy homes open into a chamber which ghost crabs design for a space in which to turn-around. Ghost crabs will hibernate in their burrows during the winter, “holding their breath” for up to six weeks by storing oxygen in special sacs near their gills. When not hibernating, they will periodically wet their gills in order to filter oxygen from the sea or the water at the bottom of their burrows. Although they cannot swim, they sometimes enter the shallows, not only to replenish water and oxygen, but to escape predators, such as birds and raccoons. Keep your eyes open, and you just might catch a glimpse of Padre Island’s “ghosts.”

Did You Know?

The National Park Service arrowhead contains a white buffalo, an animal sacred to many native Americans.

Although Padre Nicolas Balli established the first permanent settlement on the island, the island was previously owned by his father and his grandfather, who obtained the original grant from the Spanish crown. More...