Why Do Crayfish Lose Their Claws And Leg? (Reasons Explained)

Crayfish Lose Their Claws And Leg

If you have or had crayfish, there is every possibility that you must have noticed or will notice that at some point, either the claws or the legs will be missing, or sometimes even both of them. If you have not noticed this before, and it happens to occur in your aquarium and to your own crayfish, you will be shocked and will begin to wonder what could have caused that. In this article, we will learn all about it.

Crayfish could have both their claws and legs missing when Molting goes wrong, when they lack nutrition, or when attacked.

You may agree with me that this is not a common phenomenon, as many aquarists have not witnessed this before. So it is very rare and does not occur everyday.

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Crayfish is a tough animal, but sometimes, they lose everything they have for defence and attacks, which is their claws and legs, and so become weak and vulnerable.

Related: Do aquarium snails molt?

Some of the causes of crayfish loosing their legs and claws are:

– When Molting goes wrong: We all know that crayfish do Molt several times in order to grow bigger, but sometimes the molting process does not go very smooth, and the cray might not molt properly, therefore might loose some of it’s important organs to the old shell.

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Molting process could go wrong for crayfish for many reasons, for instance, if it has aggressive tank mate, if the water parameters are not suitable etc. Apart from loosing some vital organs like legs or claws, and sometimes both, a crayfish could die on the process.

– Lack of Nutrition: Failing to provide your pet crayfish with balanced diets or nutritional foods could have deadly effects on them, including loose of legs and claws when Molting.

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Molting requires alot of strength and energy, and we all know that good foods or balanced diet do provide energy and also makes the body healthy. But in the case, where the crayfish lack good quality foods, it may affect it’s over all health, which may lead to poor Molting process.

– Effect of Attacks: There is every possibility that the legs and claws of your crayfish were bitten off by its tank mate.

Related: Why did my Crayfish Stopped molting?

Crayfish are aggressive and territorial, and so does not have many suitable tank mates, and they are not even social. So adding a tank mate to your cray might be very risky, due to the fact that it might start attacking it’s tank mates, or they might start attacking it, especially at it’s weakest times.

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So when you find your crayfish’s vital organs missing, you might want to check the types of tank mates it has. Talking of tank mates, even another crayfish might be aggressive to it’s fellow crayfish.

Can Crayfish Regrow It’s Claws?

Now you know the reasons your crayfish might have lost it’s claws and legs, now the question is, do they grow back?.

Yes, they do regenerate next time they molt. First, the new legs and claws will look really tiny, and will continue to grow till they come to normal size.

If your crayfish lost its claws or legs due to either attack or from wrong molt, don’t worry, as it’s not the end of the world for them because they will definitely regenerate and your crayfish will be back to normal as time goes on.

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Although no doubt, it will be disadvantaged in many ways and in many things, including defending itself, getting foods easily and even swimming, but it will be just okay as time goes on.

The fact is that, after loosing the claws or legs. They will come still regrow them during the next molt, but this time, they will look very different because they will be very small and seems useless, and as time goes, they will come to full size and become normal.

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This is why sometimes, you can notice a crayfish with unequal sizes of claws and legs.

How Long Do Crayfish Take to Regrow Lost Claws and Legs?

The truth is, you have seen that your pet cray is missing some parts ( claws/legs) and you are worried. The only question in your mind is ‘ how long does it take for crayfish to regenerate it’s lost claws and legs?.

It can take a couple of weeks for crayfish to molt after the last Molt and regrow the lost claws and legs. But it could take few months for the lost Claws and legs to get to normal size.

Crayfish regenerating their lost claws and legs and how fast they could do it could base on many factors such as the type of foods they eat, water parameters, type of tank mate etc.

Related: Why Crayfish could die while molting

All these things contributes to how fast a cray could regrow, but on a normal basis, it should not take more than 4 months, unless there are some factors delaying it’s regeneration.


You could prevent this ever from happening by know both the type of foods, tank mates and water you add to your cray.

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I hope this article was able to help you.