Crayfish - Crayfish as a Pet
We had been out on one of the farm ponds looking for baby catfish for our huge fish tank. The tank was all set up with about four to six inches of gravel on the bottom of the tank. It had a under gravel filter system. We had the temperature set at 70 degrees F. The farm ponds were about that temperature, which we checked before setting up the aquarium.
We managed to get a bucket with a couple of catfish fry a couple of inches long. As we were moving them to their new tank we noticed a tiny little creature swim across the bucket. As we looked a little closer it was a crayfish or crawdad as we were use to calling the little critters. I have also heard the term crawfish. He was about the same size as the catfish so we felt he would be safe in the same tank. Or, perhaps I should imply the catfish should be safe from the crayfish. Here the crawdad lived for a few years.
It appeared like we had a pet crawdad or pet crayfish. We added some hidey places for him to make him feel more comfortable. We fed him worms, insects, various leftovers like chicken, fresh vegetables, but he loved his worms best. In those days we didn’t have the Internet at the touch of our fingertips to research the crawdad. There also weren’t any books available on how to take care of your pet crawdad.
He eventually grew accustomed to us. He would come out of this cave and learned to take the worm from our fingers.
All went well until one night I checked on him before I went to bed. I looked in his cave and he appeared dead. With tears flowing I informed my husband my crawdad was dead. I was broken hearted. I waited until the next morning to retrieve his body and to give him a proper burial.
The next morning I reached into his tank to pick up his body when I noticed movement near my hand. It was the crawdad begging for his worm. It was either a miracle or he had simply molted. What I had in my hand was his old exoskeleton. I was thrilled to see my friend.
Everything went great for quite some time. That is until he reached about six inches and figured out how to climb out of the tank on the air tubes. Somehow he had been able to push the top of the tank open enough to escape. I spent hours looking for the little guy. I couldn’t find him anywhere.
A day or so later I opened the coat closet near the living room and out came my crawdad. He looked up at me as if to be saying, water mom, and quick! I am sure I heard him promise never to climb out again. He didn’t live up to his promise.
After the second escape, we bought a much larger tank with a more secure lid; plate steel, bullet proof glass and a combination lock.
It was amazing how interactive and responsive this crawdad was. He clearly showed intelligence and the ability to reason.
He lived to the ripe old age of at least 4 years, which I understand is quite a long life for a crayfish.
Imagine my surprise when I checked Amazon for a book on crayfish and found not only a book, but a good book. I would suspect crayfish could be an interesting experience for a child.
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