• Aerial View of Padre Island National Seashore

    Padre Island

    National Seashore Texas

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  • BIB Campground Rehabilitation begins March 17, 2014

    A project to repair the facilities and rebuild the eroded shoreline in the Bird Island Basin Campground will begin March 17, 2014. Minor disruptions in the immediate area may occur. Please note that none of the work should affect the use of the boat ramp.

  • North Beach is open, South Beach will open at 8 am 4/5/2014

    The oil-covered materials on the beach have been removed, and clean-up is nearly complete. The North Beach portion of the park is open to driving as of 11:50 am on 4/4/2014. The South Beach portion will open to driving at 8 am on 4/5/2014.

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?

NPS arrowhead

Eighteen species of birds found at Padre Island National Seashore are state or federally listed as endangered, threatened, or a species of concern. More...