What Do Crawdads Eat? Some Useful Facts to Know

Crawdads or crawfish are an interesting animal. They have the shape of a small lobster but live in freshwater. Other names are mudbugs, mountain lobsters, and yabbies. So, what do crawdads eat? That is the question.

More people want to know about this crustacean, especially when it comes to its diets. Before talking about it, it is better to discuss more regarding the animal. One thing to know is that they live in freshwater. 

Some of them live in streams, while others choose paddy fields, ditches, swamps, and other similar habitats. One thing, they are likely to avoid polluted water! 

About Crawdads 

About Crawdads 

To survive in the wild, crawdads depend on both small animals and plants for a living. That means their diets vary, which would be discussed later. So, what are the uses of crawdads for human?

Some people decided to breed and feed crawfish for numerous reasons. For example, they want to cultivate the meat for foods. Here is a fact. Crawdads are eaten around the world!

This animal is perfect for soups and other types of dishes. Well, aside from being dishes, they have become a perfect bait to catch big fishes like basses, catfish, and others.

It is not surprising that crawdads also become a pet. People keep these in freshwater aquariums. Moreover, it does not require many efforts to take care of this animal.

Read also : What Eats Ticks? There Are Many of Them!

Adult Crawdads’ Favorite Foods 

Adult Crawdads’ Favorite Foods 

All crawfishes, including babies and adults, are omnivorous. That means they can eat almost anything. As for plants, they are fond of frozen veggies like carrots, peas, and much more. Even they love Java moss!

Aside from plants, crawdads would hunt small animals. For example, their favorites are tiny fishes, shrimps, and insects. Some people would give them table scrap and pellets, as well.

When living in the wild or natural habitat, they can eat available plants. Even they can digest decomposed plants that rot underwater. That means you can feed them rotten veggies to when the food source is scarce!

Crawdads indeed love to eat fresh fishes and plants. Still, they will not refuse to eat dead fishes and rotten vegetables. What a grateful animal! As for additional nutrients, they would eat snails, bacteria, and algae.

Baby Crawdads’ Favorite Foods 

Baby Crawdads’ Favorite Foods 

What about small crawdads or babies? Well, they have similar food choices to adults. However, these foods must be in smaller pieces. It is because they need to digest them well.   

In the wild, these babies would avoid moving around by themselves. Once they get bigger, they start hunting small fishes and shrimps. Still, their safest effort is to eat available plants nearby.

It is possible to take care of baby crawdads in tanks. However, you must pay attention well to their protein intake. Some frozen bloodworms and veggie pellets are the best choices.

Simply said, you need to provide ample foods to them from time to time. Otherwise, they would start attacking and eating each other due to insufficient food sources. They become cannibalistic at that rate.

Crawdads Eating Behavior 

Crawdads spend most of their time at the water floors and bottoms. This lazy creature also chooses to reach the closest food (even though it is less delicious), as compared to the ones that reside in a far distance.

They hunt whatever is easiest! Once they find foods, they may eat those real quick! It is because they will not lose the foods to other feeders, especially catfishes. If they do not eat fast, they do not eat!

Despite their bad reputation as a lazy animal, crawdads are indeed a swift hunter. They can catch live fishes efficiently. Once they find an opportunity, they would jump and use a nice technique to catch the prey.

Once again, they can be cannibalistic sometimes. If they cannot find food sources, they may eat other nearby crawfishes, including their offspring and siblings. What a cruel animal!

Anatomy and Hunting Tools

Anatomy and Hunting Tools

As mentioned earlier, crawdads belong to a crustacean family. That means they have a similar body to lobsters and crabs. They have about tens of segments, containing two parts (the abdomen and cephalothoraxes).

Adult crawdads have a size of about 18 cm in length. Still, they can grow even large if they eat well in nature. Their body color is reddish-brown. However, the young ones have a light tan color.

Some species in the wild have a unique color, though. These include blue and green. Despite the difference in size and color, they still have similar food preferences.

So, what about their hunting tools? They depend on both claws and bite when it comes to hunting. Their bite may sting to humans, but deadly to small fishes and shrimps.

Read also : What Do Squirrels Eat? The Options Vary!


Being a freshwater animal, crawdads are not a fussy eater. They can eat either plants or meats. Moreover, they do not have to eat fresh or living foods. It is because they can survive by eating rotten or dead ones.

When the food is scarce, crawdads develop a cannibalistic behavior! Thus, you must provide sufficient foods when taking care of them in a tank. So, what do crawdads eat? Any foods close to them!

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