OHIO – Its spring time in Ohio and that brings out animals for mating season, with this warm wet weather people are seeing a rare sight a crawdad on their lawns, and wondering how they got there.
The reality is that these specialized lobsters live in holes and not in lakes and streams. As long as you are close to a water source either a creek or a water table underground thats where this particular species of crayfish “crawdad” live. The Burrowing Crayfish is most often active on the surface of ground during the spring, and with this warm wet weather its perfect for them to get out and spawn.
Burrowing crayfish in Ohio belong to one of two genera in the family Cambaridae: Cambarus and Fallicambarus
Mud bugs (another name they are called) live where they can dig down and access the water table, thats how they survive. The digging action pushes mud to the surface and creates a mud chimney or volcano. These land-lobsters like their aquatic cousins still need water to survive and have gills, but invertebrates simply don’t need as much oxygen as other creatures. Thats why you see crabs on land at beaches often washed up after the tide goes out, inverts can live a lot longer out of water than fish and thats what gives this creature the ability to become land bound.
The good news is that they usually come out in the spring to spawn and then they dig back down into their muddy homes. As the water tables subside they dig deeper to keep with the water tables and soon you won’t see them again until next spring.
The bad news is those little mud chimneys can be difficult when you hit them with your lawn mowers, and the little creature is hard to get rid of if your lawn gets infested with them. Use of Poisons or chemicals in their homes are not recommended because usually they find the closest water source and you can poison your own well water or stream water.
Crawdads are omnivorous eating whatever they find, plant material, or animals living or dead. The crayfish is a important part of the natural habit like the earthworm that creates pathways in the earths terrestrial ground for water and oxygenates the ground. Being a consumer of anything it finds it also recycles nutrients in the soil.
So if you find a land-lobster on your lawn dont toss it in a nearby lake just shoo it back to its habitat in your lawn.