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March 18, 2006


For everyone who's asked "What the hell is that thing over there in the photo strip?", the answer is that it's a crawdad, which I found in my yard last weekend, when we had heavy rains and a bit of flooding. Apparently there are a lot of them in a nearby pond, and when that pond overflows, it makes a stream in my yard and from time to time one of the crawdads escapes the pond and makes it to the stream. It always amuses me to have crawdads in my lawn. A couple of years ago, after a particular nasty flooding, not only did we have crawdads, we had fish. That was interesting.

And here you thought life in Ohio was boring.

Posted by john at March 18, 2006 04:52 PM

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Paul | March 18, 2006 05:20 PM

Those are signs of the apocalypse, aren't they?

John Scalzi | March 18, 2006 05:21 PM

No, they're signs you need to make some gumbo.

Robert Daeley | March 18, 2006 05:29 PM

What the hell is that thing over there in the photo strip?

Good eatin', that's what they are! ;)

Bill Humphries | March 18, 2006 06:20 PM

I've always thought of crawdads as a Texas/southern thing. Are yours edible?

John Scalzi | March 18, 2006 06:32 PM

You know, I try not to eat things I find in my lawn.

Michael G. Richard | March 18, 2006 07:24 PM

That's a beautiful creature!

Scott | March 18, 2006 07:49 PM

The only crawdads I've ever seen are the Pacific Northwest kind, which are typically very small, and a sort of mud color. I had no idea how... psychedelic, I guess... they could be in other parts of the world.

Samuel L. | March 18, 2006 08:24 PM

Looks mighty delicious!

Jim Winter | March 18, 2006 08:32 PM

I used to see those in the park when I was a kid. Whenever our elementary school would have its year-end picnics for each grade, even as late as sixth grade, a bunch of us would end up in the creek looking for crawdads. Wasn't sure what we'd do with them, and when I first heard you were supposed to eat them, I went, "Eeew!"

Flash forward about 22 years when I started working in downtown Cincinnati. There is a Cajun place over at Tower Place where I used to eat often. During my first Lent there, they served crawdads on Fridays. I tried them one day. Just to mess with people's heads, I left a couple of the finished ones on the floor outside my office. The guy I shared the room with sat with me and listened to people yelp in surprise. They thought those were silver fish (which don't look much like fish, do they?)

The veep over our section marched in and told us to clean it up, but it was fun while it lasted.

And the meat wasn't bad, either.

Dane | March 18, 2006 08:35 PM

It takes several dozen pounds of them to make a decent meal. Harvesting them from your yard is probably more work then it's worth.

Though...that one does look rather enticing...let me know. I've got an outdoor stockpot and propane boiler. I'll bring the corn/potatoes and newsprint. You bring the beer...it might finally bring out some "southern" sympathies in you.

sulizano | March 18, 2006 09:33 PM

Yummm... Mudbugs!! Time for some ettouffe'!

suz | March 18, 2006 09:42 PM

Crawdads, like rock crabs you find on the beach, can actually hold their 'breath' for quite a while and will occasionally crawl out of ponds and streams for the hell of it. For fun? To hunt? I don't know, but I've seen one wandering around 50 ft. from the nearest stream on a dry day.

Martin Wagner | March 18, 2006 09:47 PM

You know folks, I look at this crawdad thingy, basking all buglike in the mud and sludge, and of the many adjectives that leap to mind, "delicious" just isn't one of them. Lots of legs + pincers + an exoskeleton just does not = a growling tummy around here, I'm afraid. I could ask, What are you thinking!?!, but I've learned never to ask such a question about people's culinary peculiarities. I actually know people who like brussel sprouts, fer chrissakes.

mythago | March 18, 2006 10:01 PM

Like lobsters, they are arthropods. Also, tasty (or they were, when I was allowed to eat them).

John, if you consider where much of your food comes from, "my lawn" is probably not all that awful.

Wan Zafran | March 18, 2006 11:20 PM

Err John, do you ever cook the crawdads/fishes that come by your lawn?

Just wondering, heheh.

Cassie | March 18, 2006 11:30 PM

I thought it was an illustration - or at least the inspiration - for some alien in OMW, which I finished, btw.

My kids want to know how you got such amazing color on the pic. It really is a brightly colored evil-looking critter.

John Scalzi | March 18, 2006 11:42 PM

Well, all the color was there naturally; I clicked on "auto levels" in Photoshop and they came out a bit heightened (the grass color, however, is spot on).

Laura | March 19, 2006 12:48 AM

What size is that little (big?) guy? It's hard to judge from the photo.

sxKitten | March 19, 2006 01:05 AM

We had a pet crawfish when I was a kid - we found it in a lake in New York, and brought it back home to Montreal with us, then moved it out west when we came to Vancouver 3 years later. It was a great pet - lived in an aquarium and spent most of its time attacking the bubbles from the aerator.

John Scalzi | March 19, 2006 07:42 AM

Laura, it's about five or six inches long.

Brandon | March 19, 2006 08:19 AM

Just watch out for the Snakeheads. From the documentary I watched on the USA Network, those things will kill ya. Or maybe it was Sci-Fi network. At any rate, it was 100% reputable.

John Scalzi | March 19, 2006 08:32 AM

I'm more worried about Snakes on a Plane.

Jimmy | March 19, 2006 09:32 AM

The farm where I grew up was on the side of the hill with no bodies of water to flood it. One particularly wet spring, there was a puddle that stuck around for a really long time, maybe 6 weeks. One day, we noticed we had some kind of albino crustacean 3-4 inches long living in it. It was really weird. Seems like the eggs or larvae must be transmittable by wind, or maybe a bird had some eggs stuck to it.

Dane | March 19, 2006 09:53 AM

It's raining crawdads in England!


Lars | March 19, 2006 12:19 PM

Jeez, that thing's pretty colorful. Reminds me of the lobstrosities from Half-Life 2 (however that word is borrowed from King). The claws are the best part...holy wow.

Tom | March 19, 2006 12:37 PM

I think your fish is a perch -- just a hunch

Size seems to be spot on, I'd have to see if from the side to be sure

http://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/greatlakesfish/yellowperch.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perch

punkrockhockeymom | March 19, 2006 03:03 PM

'Round here, which is not Ohio but isn't far, we had some fairly serious Huron River--Ann Arbor sewer problems a while back (couple of years, maybe?), and at one point when the river was high, some sewer covers popped up from the force of the water and a large number of fish purportedly shot out into the air from those sewers, and a not insignificant number of people who owned very, very expensive river-area homes had a sudden need for basement cleaners and defumigators and dehumidifiers and fish fryers.

That's what your crawdad and fish reminded me of.

dgm | March 19, 2006 04:36 PM

everytime i see crawdads i remember the time i stepped into a creek and one pinched my big toe. i can still envision the skin hanging off of it.

that was an overshare--sorry. it's actually a lovely picture.

Brandon | March 19, 2006 09:13 PM

Snakes on a Plane! Yes!

Nance | March 19, 2006 09:33 PM

They do, indeed, taste just like lobster. However, you need at least a dozen more for a decent meal.

Denis M | March 20, 2006 09:41 AM

Bruce Sterling's book Distraction includes genetically-engineered lobster-sized crawdads. Sadly, that and the Air Force having a bake sale are pretty much the only things I remember from that book.

Dane | March 20, 2006 11:10 AM

They don't have to genetically engineer them. All that needs to be done is save them from extinction.

Angie | April 1, 2006 05:36 PM

I'm in Ohio too! Near Dayton. My neighbor found two crawdads in his backyard - actually he got them out of the dogs' mouths but at any rate there were two. There is a stream nearby but not one close enough for a crawdad to take a stroll out of on his own and expect to live. We have had a bit of rain lately so maybe they got flashed out of the stream and landed in the yard. My neighbor put both in his home fishtank with a frog and only one survived. The FROG ate one! The other is now in outside in the flowerbed water pond and is living off dead worms. Do you think it will survive? He's about 6inches in length and is more red than brown. I say let's melt some butter but it's fun for the neighborhood kids to go look at. Do you think we can keep him alive?

John Scalzi | April 1, 2006 05:40 PM

I have no clue. I didn't try to keep this one, myself.

David Richardson | April 5, 2006 11:00 AM

As a kid we lived in the mountains and found crawdads in streams and shoot them with our bb guns. Something to pass the time as a child.

Anonymous | April 22, 2006 03:35 PM

what do crawdads eat

Krista | May 1, 2006 07:39 AM

I'm in Oklahoma and these things (we call them mudbugs) are all over my yard. I have two empty lots near my house and when it rains, the small drainage ditches (for rain water only!) fill up and the crawdaddys are out! I have cats that have access to the outside world whenever they please and recently they have become mudbuggers. I have at least 3 of them a night brought into the house by Stanley the hunting cat. He brings them in though the cat door, drops them and announces to me that he has brought dinner home. I'm not sure WHOSE dinner he is talking about because he promptly turns and fills up on cat chow. They range in size from 2 to 7 inches long, and they are feisty! I always take them back outside to thier world, the cats never hurt them, it must be all about the hunting and not the fishing. This morning I woke up to find two of them crawling across the bathroom floor. We don't eat these things; they are a bit too crunchy looking for me. I just keep returning them to the lawn!

makayla | May 12, 2006 01:58 PM

I would like to know what crawdads eat not just how to cook them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lisa | May 18, 2006 09:22 AM

We live in Iola, Texas and have lots of CD's. My son found one in the creek behind our house. He toolk it to school and it's now a classroom pet, named Spaz! They are feeding it bugs and worms. Personally, eating them seems gross. But to each his own!!

Have a great day!!


christy | May 29, 2006 06:10 PM

how do i get these things out of my yard. i can not stand all the holes in my yard and i am afraid for my small children. help!!!!!

Jessica | June 10, 2006 10:11 AM

my name is jessica and i was down at my p0ond with my dad and we found a crawdad. so i got it and but it on the bridge and asked my dad if i could keep it and he said get some of the pond water and sand.but you dont know what it eats so i came to email you.so what should i ut them in and feed him

Jessica | June 10, 2006 10:12 AM

my name is jessica and i was down at my p0ond with my dad and we found a crawdad. so i got it and but it on the bridge and asked my dad if i could keep it and he said get some of the pond water and sand.but you dont know what it eats so i came to email you.so what should i ut them in and feed him

Anonymous | June 15, 2006 10:37 AM


Daniel | June 17, 2006 06:22 PM

what the hell do they eat? Somebody dumped a bunch on my front step i dont know what they need...

Daniel | June 19, 2006 04:46 PM

i found a site that said that they eat pretty much anything including each other... they will attack another when it is molting

Daniel | June 19, 2006 04:47 PM

i found a site that said that they eat pretty much anything including each other... they will attack another when it is molting

jojo | June 24, 2006 12:25 AM

what in the hell do thesies things eat

ANSWER ME !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John Scalzi | June 24, 2006 12:08 PM

They eat people who use too many exclamation points.

Donnovan | June 24, 2006 03:03 PM

[deleted due to crushingly boring use of profanity]

amber | July 5, 2006 05:05 AM

it was a stormy day and we stayed inside prettymuch all day then decided to go look around at walmart.....by then, it was at night-of course...but anyways, we got back home and noticed a crawdad in a little tiny muddpuddle....they were goin to kill it but i said no and we brought it inside to keep and to observe.i put it into a small aquraium i had laying around w/ a little bit of water.(the crawdad was very large)-we were wondering y it didnt move for the longest time.about 3hours passed while watching movies and we glanced over and she had given birth!!!i bet there are about 30 little crawdads crawling around!most stay on their mother...but i just wanted to share this w/u all!!im going to try to feed them worms and bugs.so, i hope they survive!

Tyler and Justin | July 6, 2006 03:41 PM

Ok... we found 2 crawdads and we were surprised because we live in the middle of a really residential city... now what do we feed these little mo fo's because we dont wanna kill them and we wanna keep them! so they like insects?

Anonymous | July 6, 2006 09:51 PM

what do crawdads EAT!!!!!!!!!!

John Scalzi | July 6, 2006 10:04 PM

For Christ's sake, people. Do your own damn research.

I will remain anonymous. | July 10, 2006 11:06 PM

Hello, my name is anonymous and my friend and i went down to my creek to go swimming the other day and we came along a dried up creek bed. My friend whom i will just call Jane started lifting up these flat rocks and looking under them. Well Jane found a baby crawdad under one of them and she wanted to keep it, so we picked it up (it's claws were too small to pinch hard) and carried it to my house where we put it in a bowl until her mom got there to pick her up. When she left the crawdad stayed because my retarded friend forgot to take her new pet home so now i am trying to get my mom to let me keep it cause it is just a little baby. I don't know what to feed it either but i have a suggestion.I FED IT SOME OF MY FISH'S FOOD FLAKES AND IT ATE IT, SO I THINK THAT FISH FOOD FLAKES MIGHT WORK FOR FOOD! Well i am going to go. If you have any questions just write it on here to the name anonymous#1 and i will answer it. Thanks,Anonymous#1

Anonymous#1 | July 10, 2006 11:23 PM

Hey, I'm back. I just looked at this cool site that talks about crawdads, and i found some food ideas. It said that the young usually like to eat aquatic insects, tadpoles, snails, small fish, and salamanders. Then it said that the adults usually like to eat aquatic plants, leaves, and woody debris. But it also said that the most crawdads have a wide appetite so maybe you can get your crawdads to eat something else. Just thought i would let you know since alot of people were asking. Talk to you later, Anonymous#1

jacklyn | July 15, 2006 11:58 AM

I have a crawdad i found it at Thumlake. I want to know what they eat

Anonymous | July 15, 2006 12:01 PM

do you people know what they eat?

John Scalzi | July 15, 2006 12:34 PM

You know what, since all this thread is at this point is people asking over and over what crawdads eat, despite the fact that people have already responded with information and links, I'm going to close the thread because it annoys me to see people acting like morons.