Around 30 minutes away from the main beach, this wild part of Kuakata coast is termed shoals because they get submerged twice a day during high tide, and when they rise during low tide, they look like sandbanks. The only mode of transport available is motorcycle.
Still untouched by modern life, the name of this side of the beach comes from its main inhabitants – the red crabs.
From a distance, the chars look a blazing red under the sun because they are covered with thousands of red crabs. When undisturbed, one can observe the crabs moving around, going into the water, digging a nest in the beach.
However, with the slightest movement on the outside, they will disappear into the sand in a blink.
“The chars still have their wild charm intact because no tourists come here,” said Mamun Miah, a local fisherman.
Although red crabs have been sighted in other parts of Southeast Bangladesh – mainly remote islands of Bhola district – experts believe that Lal Kakrar Char has possibly the largest population of red crabs.
Zoologists believe that these crabs are a vital part of the marine ecosystem in the area.
“Red crabs are like earthworms – they dig up organic nutrients closer to the surface of the ground, which is essential for the growth of plants and trees on these shoals,” said Dr M Niamul Naser, professor of zoology at Dhaka University.
Furthermore, some rare aquatic migratory birds feed on them during winter, and they cut up rotten leaves of mangrove plants into small pieces, which become food for shrimps and other crabs.
“The ecosystem of that area depends on this crab,” said Naser.
Locals are concerned that despite the lack of tourist attention, the crabs may be under threat.
Local fishermen said due to a high demand, local boys try to catch the red crabs in order to sell to tourists. Crabs are usually faster in getting away, but sometimes a few get caught, they said.
In addition, some crabs manage to escape, but get severely injured in the process and sometimes die.
“It is perhaps better if the environment of these shoals is not disturbed,” said Mamun Miah the fisherman. “It is better if these shoals are protected from people.”