Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Walking across Barbara and Lester's lawn out in the Red Lick, Kentucky area, I noticed a cone shaped mud heap. It looked like a chimney being built by some child on a sandy beach. I asked Barbara about the "chimney" and she said that it was a crawdad hole. Crawdad hole, I thought, never heard of the critter. I took a photo of the foot high and 6 inches across "chimney". Hmm -- I thought -- I'm going to find out what the heck kind of animal builds these things.

So after seeing the "chimney" in the lawn I left Red Lick for home to gather info.

Soon I found out that a crawdad is the same as a crayfish. Now, I know what a crayfish is -- years ago my then eight year son introduced me to one when he stuck one in my face and said, "look what I found."

For the sake of simplicity as I express what info I found, I will be using crawdad to mean both crawdad and crayfish.

I believe that the kind of crawdad hole I saw in the Red Lick lawn would be classified as a grassland crawdad. In North America there are over 250 different species of crawdads that are important to our environment. Actually, as always with mother nature, everything has a design.

-- Crawdads live where the water is not polluted.
-- If you have crawdads in your immediate area you have clean water.
-- Crawdads are omnivorous scavengers.
-- They provide food for predators such as raccoons, turtles, frogs, snakes and fish. .
-- Crawdads have gills to breathe with.
--Grassland crawdads burrow down to the water table so they can breathe with their gills.
--Crawdads have symbiotic relationships with many animals, like snakes -- providing their burrows to them for safety or hibernation during the winter.

In Illinois the Kirkland snake is threatened and in the southwest the same for the Massasauga rattlesnake as habitat is developed or water area's drained. Crawdads become few in areas of development or from land drained of water -- thus loss of habitat for some animals as the burrows disappear.

As with all of nature one link leads to another and all is important to the health of the natural community.

Information on crawdads was found at:

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