Burrowing Crayfish

During the daytime, crayfish are seldom seen out in the open, but recently after a good rain, I spotted one moving about in the shallow, clear water of a ditch.

In the spring, crayfish dig tunnels down many feet to reach ground water.  As they dig, they use their legs and mouth to bring mud pellets up to the surface and place them around the opening of their burrows.

They continue adding more pellets on top of each layer until a chimney is formed.  The mud dries hard and serves as a defense against predators.

Each crayfish’s chimney is unique.  Occasionally I like to stop and admire the architecture formed by these freshwater crustaceans, and can’t help but wonder if they were perhaps the inspiration for human adobe or mud homes.

As dry, hot weather arrives, the crayfish plug up the entrance to their burrows and move further down the tunnels where the environment is more to their liking.

“Architects cannot teach nature anything.”  ~ Mark Twain

24 thoughts on “Burrowing Crayfish

  1. Fantastic post. Since we have drainage and irrigation ditches, our crawdads don’t make the mounds. Excellent photographs.

  2. God provides for all of His creatures and gives them abilities to survive and fight off enemies. If he does this for them, His gifts to us will far out measure any. We are so blessed by our creator.

  3. That was interesting Rebecca. I went on an interpretive walk at one of the Metroparks a few years ago and they showed us a crayfish chimney but it was not as elaborate as the ones in your photos. This one was wide and our guide said that sometimes snakes repurpose crayfish chimneys to hide from their predators if they are big enough to slide through!

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