Blue Land Crayfish in my Meadow

I thought that seeing a camel in a pasture up the road was unusual, but this one beats all. I saw the cat toying over something in the weeds, and when I rushed to the rescue of some unfortunate creature, I was shocked to see two blue claws flailing around in a show of power. It was definitely some kind of crawfish, but the closest water is 200 yards down through the woods.


I carefully grabbed the little guy behind his head, and brought him to the porch where I could photograph him. The blue color was incredible, and he would raise those claws whenever I got too close. He was about 3 1/2 inches long, and very shiney.


I was mystified. I never imagined finding a blue lobster in the mountains, but there he was. I’m sure he was as curious about me as I was about him.


I returned him to the spot I had found him, and when I returned five minutes later, he was gone. I Googled “land crawfish north carolina mountains”, and there he was. He is a land dwelling crawfish known as a Blue Mountain Mudbug by locals. They live in burrows and feed on earthworms and grubs, and anything else they can find as they graze through the weeds. I wrote to the head of crustaceans in the state natural resources department, and a swift response confirmed the Latin name, and also confirmed that others had been documented in Rutherford County where I live.


I’m so glad that I made the decision when I moved here NOT to have a mower, and to leave the meadow natural. Rare little critters like this one would have never had a chance.

9 thoughts on “Blue Land Crayfish in my Meadow

  1. We had terrible storms here (DC area) Friday night and when I took the dogs for a walk Saturday morning we ran into one of these. It saw us immediately and took that defensive stance. One of the pups jumped about 2 feet when he saw it, but then wanted to investigate. I assume that it was driven out of its “hole” because of all the rain. It must have found its way home, because it was gone when we took our afternoon walk.

  2. We have these on our property in Marshall VA! We are thrilled to have them as part of the natural habitat which we encourage. They dig holes in the ground and use the mud they dig to create a mud chimney, some as high as 10 inches.

    • Now that is cool ! come to think about I do remember seeing holes from crawdads inland way far from the creek banks noticed some the other day in the Panther Town Valley in the mountains of Jackson County .but never seen one up close . A big thanks for the info and the photo .

  3. I used to see these often when i was a child all over the area of main east kentucky .. but the last time i saw one was 17-18 years ago… im assuming pollution of some sort has driven them to local extinction.. sad .. used to be so many and now there are none.. coal mining industry has destroyyed all the wonderful creatures and especially the water creatures of the central appalachians… peace you all !

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