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Tracking crabs to locate drinking water

It may sound strange, but many villagers in Meghalaya's Garo hills depend on crabs to locate underground drinking water sources. Once the crabs dig for water, they follow and find the water.

india Updated: Jun 29, 2008 20:35 IST

It may sound strange, but many villagers in Meghalaya's Garo hills depend on crabs to locate underground drinking water sources.

"We watch the crabs as they know best where water is. Once they dig for water, we follow and find the water," says headman Saren M Sangma of Rangira Bolsalgre, a small hamlet in the West Garo hills.

Like most Garo villages which have no facilities for drinking water, the residents relied on springs. And, this was where the crabs came in. They located water sources by digging with their sharp claws.

"The age-old system of locating underground water by following the crabs is still widely practiced in several villages in the interior Garo Hills," he said.

A few years ago though, Rangira Bolsalgre, which was dependent on crabs for locating drinking water was struck by water borne disases, especially during the monsoon.