A crawfish is known by several names. Crawfish, crayfish, crawdad, and even mudbugs.
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So what is the fish of many names?
A crawfish is a fresh water crustacean. You can conjure the image of a lobster, and shrink it. Miniature lobsters. That’s what a crawfish looks like.
But the real question that we are going to answer in this piece, is what do they eat?
What does Crawfish like to eat In Their Natural Habitats
In the wild, crawfish or crayfish, whichever term you prefer, live in variable habitats.
Some inhabit freshwater streams, rivers, and lakes. While others live in swamps.
You will find them in Northern America, Australia, and New Zealand.
In their natural habitats, the crawfish has a low-key diet. They are naturally omnivorous. Omnivores eat plant based food and animal based food as the components that contribute to their overall diet make up.
The plant based part of their diet consists of plant matter such as algae, aquatic flora, leaves, and even bark and twigs.
The animal based part of their diet consists of deceased pond life such as fish and live plankton. This is complemented by insects such as worms and snails.
They even branch out to their own offspring, frogs and tadpoles, shrimps and turtle babies.
What Crawfish Eat As Domestic Pets
If you have one of these freshwater crustaceans as a pet, congratulations. They are cool little creatures. But, do you know how to feed them properly?
When you have a domestic pet, they are bound to have a different diet than what they might eat in the wild where they fend for themselves.
Domestically, a crawfish can follow a similar diet. But you may not want to house worms and snails and turtle babies.
The Natural Diet &
You can source worms and snails and other insects from animal food stores. They are cheap enough, and you can buy them in bulk if you need to.
It would be advisable to add in plant life as well. This can be algae that you can find from natural sources, or buy. Other plant life that is suitable would be leaves and grass.
The Processed Diet
The processed diet is what we like to call the pet shop alternatives. They are things like pellets.
You can source shrimp pellets from most pet food stores.
You feed the pellets in small quantities once a day as appropriate. The crawfish gets everything they need from these pellets, as they are made to a high nutritional standard.
In fact, crayfish will eat almost anything that you put in front of them, or put at the bottom of their tank. As long as it is fish food made for freshwater fish, that is.
Feeding Crawfish At Different Stages Of Life
Just like us humans, crawfish need different food at different stages of their existence.
Baby crawfish require a diet of just algae.
Anything other than algae, which is what they eat in the wild, would be harmful and lead to their deaths.
This is all that their smaller digestive systems can handle. The adult crawfish don’t really cater to their young. They have to fend for themselves from more or less the first week of their life.
They eat what is available to them, and what is available to them is algae. Algae is a green plant like substance that grows in water. Thankfully, freshwater sources are riddled with it.
An adult crawfish diet needs a little more than that. An adult is more mature than a baby crawfish. They have a more mature digestive system, and different nutritional needs.
As they grow, their diet changes. Algae on its own become lacking in the right vitamins and proteins to sustain the life force of a fully grown crayfish.
Therefore, they scavenge for other food sources. Owing to where they live and how they exist, crawfish are categorically defined as scavengers.
They scavenge their food from wherever they are able to find it. Anything that they can find in or around their water source is up for grabs.
A crawfish eats both animals and plants, as we’ve seen. This is by design, aka because of where they live.
So this needs to be reflected in their diet. Their pallets mature from just algae to all sorts of small creatures.
The Crawfish And Their Digestive System
A crawfish digestive system is not like our own. It is uncomplicated. A very A-B-C process, if you like.
Though it does need to be able to handle the decomposed food and varied plant life that enters the system, it manages to filter out the bad and absorb what it needs to keep ticking over.
They eat food. The food goes to the stomach. It comes out the other end.
The stomach has two chambers. One of which has a manual approach to breaking down food and the other of which chemically breaks down the food particles.
Everything of worth that they need from the food is absorbed into the bloodstream. Everything they don’t need, or the waste, is filtered out in excrement.
Foods That Are Bad Or Toxic For Crawfish
As long as you stick to their traditional diet, crayfish are uncomplicated. You shouldn’t feed them a cake, but that seems fairly obvious.
So with regard to what food to avoid, we will look at what is specifically harmful and or toxic to crawfish and could lead to their becoming unwell and even dying.
The only food that falls into this category, that you may accidentally feed them, is live shrimp or uncooked shrimp.
If you have a domesticated crayfish, you should also avoid all the things that could poison them that may make their way into their tank through cleaning. Avoid insecticides and herbicides.What does crawfish like to eat?
That is all you need to know about what a crawfish eats.
They have simple diets that are pretty typical of this kind of freshwater species. As long as you don’t stray from that path, your crayfish will thrive just fine.