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The crabs should not pose a danger to people or animals
Thousands of dead crabs have been washed up on Kent's beaches after being killed by the cold weather.

The velvet swimming crabs are littering beaches around Thanet, along with smaller numbers of whelks, sponges and anemones.

It is the second year that icy temperatures have killed off the sea creatures in such large numbers.

Last year the Environment Agency set up an inquiry amid fears a mystery virus could be to blame.

But a spokesman for Thanet Coast Project said the inquiry concluded the deaths were linked to the cold weather.

Manager Tony Child said: "This shows just how much severe weather can disrupt marine life, as well as our own lives.

Naturally dispersed

"Usually the temperature of the marine environment is much more stable than our air temperatures.

"However, investigations into a similar incident we had along the Thanet coast last year now make it more likely that the crabs just couldn't cope with the severe cold."

He said: "As happens with the circle of life in nature, we expect the crabs to be naturally dispersed from our shores very quickly by our local seagulls."

Crabs have been reported on beaches at Westbrook, Cliftonville and Kingsgate, while smaller numbers have been washed up between Broadstairs and Ramsgate.

Mr Child said the creatures should not pose a danger to people or animals.

The crabs account for about 95% of the marine life affected by the cold snap.