That’s a crayfish. Not a particularly rare species in Florida but this particular crayfish was found along All Weather Road just a bit north of where it intersects with Ranch House Rd. which is beautiful prairie-land in Myakka River State Park. Yep, prairie-land. This poor fellow was a long way from what crayfish like most — fresh water ponds.
There has been a lot of rain at Myakka this year and most of the hiking trails have been underwater, some for several weeks. As I mentioned in my last blog, Alligator Xrossing, water levels this high tend to disperse the wildlife throughout the Park so that caution is needed because you may find an alligator where you never imagined an alligator might be.
The same is apparently true for crayfish. As you can see, this fellow seems to be full-grown and crayfish, according to some internet sources, can live 2-3 years. And there were lots of large puddles and ditches filled with water in the area that we were hiking but they won’t be there long. Quite frankly, I doubt the crayfish will either. Water needs aside, this poor guy was a sitting duck (pardon the mixing of metaphors here). When we returned about an hour later he was no where to be found. Between the hawks and the feral pigs I figure something got a juicy lunch. But I also know this guy went down hard. Look at the feistiness in the second picture below. Confronted with two enormous human beings and one mammoth camera the guy is ready to take us on. Like the cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz this guy had a good game of bluff going. It was not something we would have ever expected on All Weather Road. ❧