The boys were somewhat shaken, but not as much as I was. It takes a lot for me to get loud but this instinctual outburst has happened before. Since I was a child I've been enthralled by these creatures. Their shells resemble a Klingon's forehead and they exude a peaceful vibe. They are totally harmless to humans and really need our help if they are to survive.
Back when I lived on Silver Sands beach they showed up in droves. The momma crab usually carting around a male on her back until finally burrowing into the wet sand. I'd go to the beach every morning to find people holding them by their tails. I'd kindly instruct these beach goers to not do that, just flip them over by the edges of their shells if you really want to help. Some people took the information well while others just thought I was being intrusive.
Horseshoe crabs are not on the endangered species list but are listed as 'threatened' by the federal government. Horseshoecrab.org has information and resources to satisfy any one's craving for more knowledge. If you live near a beach on the east coast you can join in on the count. They have a Just Flip 'Em program designed to educate people on what to do when you see a crab on its back:
Just flip 'em! Program
Our Just flip 'em! program is designed to bring attention to the hundreds of thousands of horseshoe crabs (Limulus polyphemus) who die each year from stranding (stuck upside down) during their yearly spawning ritual and to encourage individuals, through a simple act of compassion, to take the time to assist and appreciate these remarkable creatures, who will not survive public indifference.
The idea is simple: when you see a horseshoe crab that is stranded upside down on the beach, just flip them over. It's important not to flip them by their tail, however. Even though it looks scary, the tail is very delicate and can be easily damaged. The best way to turn them over is by the edge of their shell. No need to be cautious; the horseshoe crab doesn't bite or sting and it's claws are very gentle and won't hurt you.
There are also art contests for children, a theme song, poetry, drawings and so much more. It breaks my heart to see them being abused. If you see someone on the beach mistreating a horseshoe crab please let them know the proper way to handle one. I'll love you forever!