Sometimes, as a crayfish pet owner, you will notice that some of the crayfish do dig holes or do try to hide in any hole they could find. Do you wonder why your crayfish is always digging?, you will know soon.
Your crayfish might be digging because it’s about to lay eggs, it’s trying to hide or it’s about to Molt.
One of the characteristics of crayfish is, they do burrow alot, especially those in the wild. Although all of them do burrow if they have the opportunity, including those in your aquarium.
It’s part of their nature. They do hide alot, and so would hide in anything, be it rocks, leaves etc, and when they couldn’t find any natural hideout, they may choose to burrow inorder to hide.
This is so common for all crayfish. If your aquarium has substrates at it’s bottom, you will always see the crayfish digging it up, trying to make holes where they could hide. They might sometimes attempt to dig even stones or rocks in the aquarium.
Now the question is, why do they dig or burrow?. Here are the reasons they do it:
– To lay eggs: Crayfish do not normally lay their eggs on the surface or where the eyes could see, they normally do hide in underground and stay there till they hatch them.
In the aquarium, you must have seen your female crayfish dig up hole in the substrates at the bottom of the aquarium ( if there is any) and stay there for a long time. There is every possibility that your cray is sitting on it’s eggs.
They do this maybe to hide from other tank mates, to keep their eggs safe and to hatch them.
In the wild, they do burrow so often, especially near river bank or anywhere closer to water body.
If you go near a river, or any water body, you will notice some crayfish chimneys. These are muds they dug out from the ground. It could come in many colors, depending how the mud in the place they dig is.
They dig with their legs and hand, by rolling muds into small baill known as pellets, then carry the pellets to the surface and arrange them around the hole. Then after digging, the female will go in, sometimes accompanied by a male who stay guard at the entrance, while the female will stay deeper at the bottom where there is water to lay and hatch her eggs.
When the eggs are hatched, the young ones do survive by eating unhatched eggs and their dead siblings till they leave the burrow.
The eggs do need water to hatch, so if the water in the burrow dries, the female will have to go further down to locate moisture. Female crayfish do hold their eggs attached to little appendages under their tails called swimmerets, or pleopods.
– Crayfish in the wild normally do this at the end of summer by staying Underground all winter and do go back to water after winter: It is believed that they do this just to escape winter cold weather by going deep inside earth where it is warmer.
Although they do tolerate cold, but long winter cold is not suitable for them, especially some species. So when winter is about to begin, you will see their holes scattered on the soil around water bodies, in order to stay warm in the ground and move back to water when the weather is normal for them.
– Crayfish may dig up holes because they want to Molt: They normally molt from time to time, and so, do like to hide. When there is no hiding places like rocks, stones etc, they may prefer to dig up holes for themselves.
That is why it is always advisable to put in place some hiding places for your pet cray in your aquarium.
When they can’t find any, they may start digging up substrates. This may be one of the reasons those cray in the wild do dig.
– They are trying to hide from predators: The most common reason they dig holes and stay is, they are trying to hide from predators.
In the wild, crayfish sometimes hide in holes in the ground to stay safe from some predators.
Even in the aquarium, you will notice that they sometimes hide in any place hidable. This is because they might be trying to stay safe from tank mates.
Sometimes Crayfish do hide in a burrow or any suitable place because it is in their nature to do so, and not possibly because of any reason.
For instance, a crayfish living alone in an aquarium will sometimes disappear into hiding for a very long time and will come out when it is suitable for it to do so. That is just normal for them.