Photo Friday: Mud Bugs


Thank goodness its Friday! On Fridays I will post a photo from the ranch and discuss the subject. Take a gander and see if you can guess what we are looking at…

Crayfish, Crawfish, Crawdads, Mud Bugs. No matter what you call em, they taste pretty good. Crawfish (as they are known in my neck of the woods) are the most populous freshwater crustacean grown in the U.S. 150,000 acres of land in the country are used to raise these critters, with 125,000 of them found in Louisiana. Arkansas actually hits the list with 500 acres. Texas (5,000), Florida (2,500), and South Carolina (1,000) also top the list with acreage committed to crawfish production. So yes, we need to thank a farmer for raising these bugs too.

Crawfish live in fresh water environments, hibernate in cold weather, and burrow into the ground in warm weather. The photo above is one of many crawdad burrows I found in a pasture. These critters like moist soils, high in clay. They forage on plants and dead animal material. But more famously are known as the main course at cawfish boils. Crawfish boils are big events, especially in Louisiana. The bugs are put in a large pot of boiling water, along with selected spices, and depending on the cook, onion, corn on the cob, some garlic, and a variety of other additions.

I remember seeing these burrows all over the place in muddy ditches and wet pastures, for as far back as I can think. Not that they really impact ranch life much, but I thought it made for a neat photo and some tasty treats if you ever get the chance to try some.

Crawfish Facts

  • Crawfish muscle fibers are shorter than many meats, making them a great source of easily digested protein with only 1% of the recommended daily allowance of fat
  • Louisiana has more than 30 different species of crawfish, but only two species are commercially important to the industry; the red swamp crawfish (Procambarus clarkii) and the white river crawfish (Procambarus zonangulus).
  • Crawfish are popular menu items across the globe in countries like Spain, China, France, Nigeria
  • These critters are kept as pets in freshwater aquariums or used as fish bait
  • Crawfish prefer freshwater environments, free of pollution, about 8 inches deep, with plentiful vegetation, and water temps of 65-85. Much like the conditions of a swamp or rice field.

Have you ever been to a crawfish boil or eaten any? What did ya think? Or would you just prefer to keep them as pets?

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