Crayfish are marvelous classroom organisms. They are exciting and easy to care for. Through close observation, students can learn interesting details about animal structures while developing sensitivity to the needs of living organisms.
Crayfish are also known as crawfish, crawdads, mudbugs, and yabbies; they resemble and are related to lobsters. Crayfish most commonly live in freshwater, only a few have the ability to survive in salt water. There are over 500 different species of crawfish in the world and more than half of them are located in North America. Specifically, Louisiana produces 90% of the worldâ€™s crayfish for consumption as food.
To keep your pet crayfish comfortable you will need to keep it in a freshwater aquarium, a fish tank will work just fine. Make sure to cover any holes in the lid of the tank to keep your crayfish from escaping. Feeding your crayfish is simple; many common fish foods will work. Pet crayfish will eat shrimp pellets, vegetables, fish food, algae wafers, goldfish, and minnows. Be careful which fish, if any, you put in the aquarium with your pet crawdad because they will attack and eat fish if they feel threatened or if they appear to be an easy snack. When using a prepared food, do not overfeed. The excess food will spoil the water.
Crayfish from the wild may have mud on their swimmerettes. The crayfish need to be purged (placed in clean, dechlorinated water) to remove the mud. Depending on how much mud is present, several water changes may be necessary.
Crayfish like to have a place to hide. The crayfish will molt, shed it’s exoskeleton. During the few hours after the molt, the crayfish has a soft exoskeleton and is vulnerable to predators. The larger the crayfish grows, the longer the time is in between molts. Crayfish have gills for breathing underwater, but can also breathe air.