Tuesday, January 13, 2015


We thought we had another week to prepare for the crawdads’ arrival. Their tracking number indicated that they hadn’t even shipped out from the east coast yet, but sure enough their package arrived on Wednesday morning. All twelve crawdads (AKA crayfish, AKA freshwater lobsters, and AKA mudbugs) were at Pacific Science Center way ahead of schedule, and we were really excited!

When we opened up the shipping cooler, all twelve sets of eyes fixed on our own. Crawdads are incredibly aware and interactive. It was eerie to see them out of the water, in a Styrofoam box packed with moss, but the packaging soon made sense. Crawdads get their oxygen from the water touching their feathery gills. The moss in their shipping container was saturated with enough water to keep their gills wet, and oxygen readily available. In fact, had the cooler been filled with water, without a pump, it is possible they could have drowned on the way to Seattle.

Though their temporary home did them well, we rushed to prep them a new home in our Insect Village. We decided that six of the crawdads should go on exhibit, and six could stay behind the scenes. This means we had to prepare water and tanks for them. Crawdads love furniture and hiding places, so each tank had to be full of options for them. We also needed to hook up bubblers and pumps so that they could get enough oxygen in their tanks. After all of this preparation, it was time to transfer the stunned crawdads to their new home!

Despite the rush, we feel that the final product turned out amazing! The crawdads have plenty of hiding places, are getting along very well with one another, and have proved to be an exciting addition to the Insect Village. We made room for the crawdads between the vinegaroon and the dune scorpion - arthropods with similar segments and body structures. Hopefully, this will get people to think about why they see crawdads as food but don’t think of scorpions as food. That said, Pacific Science Center’s Gift Store sells lollypops with Dune Scorpions in the center for people interested in trying.

Definitely stop by and visit the crawdads when you get a chance!

Note: These crawdads are not native to the Puget Sound region. In other parts of the country, crawdads of this species have been placed into waterways where they have become invasive. Pacific Science Center is excited to display crawdads but reminds our readers not to release captive animals into new ecosystems.

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