AVALON, Calif. — Thousands of tiny red crabs are blanketing the shore on Southern California’s Catalina Island and creating a spectacle for beachgoers.

Vacationers took photos amid the crustacean invasion this week while youngsters scooped them up by the armful and tried to return them to the sea.

The Orange County Register reported Tuesday (http://bit.ly/2t41Nvj ) that pelagic red crabs are usually found off Baja California, where a swell from a dying hurricane is sweeping them north.

The newspaper says the influx can be a headache for maintenance workers as they try to remove the dying creatures that leave a strong stench when they bake in the sun for too long.

The 1- to 3-inch-long crabs have washed up along Southern California beaches in recent years because of El Nino weather patterns.

Information from: The Orange County Register, http://www.ocregister.com

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