The Highly Aggressive Red Swamp Crayfish Invading Connecticut
Have you recently gone outside after a storm and found a mini-lobster crawling across your driveway or yard?
Based on the comments on a recent post by the Connecticut Fish & Wildlife of the Bureau of Natural Resources here in the state, many of you have. No, they're not baby lobsters that escaped Long Island Sound, skittered up Rt. 8 and ended up in Ansonia. They're Crayfish, or as I know them Crawdads, or Mudbugs.
A particular species of Crayfish is known as the Red Swamp Crawfish, or the Louisiana Crawfish. They're a freshwater species, native to Northern Mexico, and the South and Southeast United States. Red Swamp Crayfish can grow pretty big, they average 2-5 inches in length.
They are a delicacy, cooked alive in a boil of heavy spices and seasonings. Because of their export around the country still breathing, sometimes when they get to their destination, people have a guilty conscience or the kid's want to keep them as a pet, and the Crawfish are released into the wild.
Pretty much every fresh body of water here in Connecticut has Crawdads, 9 species of Crayfish are native, but, there's a threat from a non-native invader from the South.
Releasing live Crayfish into the wild is illegal here in Connecticut, according to the CT Fish & Wildlife post. Connecticut's Fisheries Division has received multiple calls regarding people finding these non-native, highly aggressive Red Swamp Crayfish around the state. The Red Swamp Crayfish has proven to be highly disruptive to Connecticut's freshwater eco system.
So, what should you do if you come across a Red Swamp Crayfish here in Connecticut? According to CT Fish & Wildlife, catch them and eat them. If you purchase them live and have second thoughts, euthanize them and dispose of them properly. If you spot one or have questions, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.