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Last Updated: Wednesday July 27 2005 15:44 GMT

Weird crab spreading through UK

The sponge crab
A good disguise can help you survive on the sea bed - and a rare crab found in the Bristol Channel has a great one!

The sponge crab holds a living sponge on top of its shell to keep hidden, and scientists were shocked to discover the unusual beastie living near Bristol.

When the critter was found off Lundy Island, scientists didn't recognize it at first, and, after taking photos, threw the creepy crustacean back.

The crabs are normally only found off North Wales in the UK.

It's hoped that the arrival of the crab off Lundy means they are returning to the area, where they were once common.

The odd animals hold onto sponges with their back legs, and are covered in small hairs.

They are so good at camouflaging themselves, they are pretty much impossible to spot unless they move.

If they can't find a suitable sponge to crouch under, the clawed masters of disguise have been known to use bits of rope and even old flip-flops.



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