Skip to Content

Can Crayfish Live on Land? (Quick Answers)

Crayfish are small lobsters that are similar to freshwater crustaceans. You might find this animal crawling on the land quite often.

As a result, you might wonder if crayfish really live on land. You might also want to know how they breathe on the land. Let’s find the answers to all your queries about crayfish living on land.

Can crayfish live on land?

Crayfish have special gills with which they can breathe normal air on land. They can survive for up to a week on land in normal conditions. However, in moist and humid conditions, crayfish can live on land for a long period of time. As a result, most of the time, crayfish stay on land.

Crayfish can live both on land and water. They can normally inhale and exhale oxygen from air with their gills. They mostly come out of water in search of food and to move from one location to another. 

However, some species of crayfish can’t survive out of water for a long time. Let’s take a look at which species of crayfish survive on land.

Blue crayfish:

Blue crayfish are found in various water bodies across the United States. However, they are most commonly found on the Saint Johns River, the longest river in the country.

Blue crayfish are remarkably resilient, and they can adjust to any situation and environment.

They can even breathe out of the water, thanks to their specialized gills. In moist and humid conditions, blue crayfish can survive on land for a couple of months.

Dwarf crayfish:

Dwarf crayfish are a smaller version of the regular crayfish. They can grow up to 1.6 inches in length. However, they have the same body form as the standard crayfish. So, they also have the same specialized gills as the regular crayfish.

With the help of special gills, dwarf crayfish can breathe air on land. They can survive on land for five to seven days in dry conditions.

Apricot crayfish:

The Apricot crayfish is usually found in freshwater bodies in Irian Jaya, Indonesia. They have the same type of gills as the usual crayfish, with which they can inhale oxygen from above the ground.

As a result, they can walk out of the water for food and relocate without any issue.

Do crayfish live in water or land?

Crayfish can live both in water and land. Almost every species of crayfish lives in freshwater bodies. However, there are a few species of crayfish that also live in saltwater and brackish water. They spend most of their lives in water.

Although the natural habitat of crayfish is water, they can breathe and live on land. They spend a significant amount of time of their life on land in search of food and a better place to live on.

They use their gills to inhale oxygen from the air, the same way they inhale oxygen from water.

What crayfish live on land?

Almost every crayfish species can survive on land. Every crayfish species has a special type of gills, with which they can consume and exhale oxygen from both water and air. As a result, all kinds of crayfish can normally spend their life on land.

However, especially the burrowing crayfish live on land. They live most of their life on the surface and under the ground. Since the burrowing crayfish are aquatic species, they dig their holes down to groundwater so that they have a ready oxygen supply.

In addition to the burrowing crayfish, the dwarf crayfish, apricot crayfish, and blue crayfish also live on land. They live on land to catch insects and gather food easily.

How do crayfish breathe and live on land?

Crayfish breathe on land with their special gills, which are very different from that of the fishes.

The crayfish’s gills are a particular, sensitive organ that can pull oxygen from both water and air. Needless to say, they can breathe both under and above the water.

The crayfish can intake oxygen into the body through moisture in the air as long as the gills are moist.

As a result, they can move on land and, in the right conditions, across long distances. They can even live for months on land if there is plenty of humidity in the air.

Can crayfish breathe underwater?

Crayfish breathe using gills. So, they can breathe underwater, just like every other aquatic animal. The gills of the crayfish are a special kind as they use them to breathe both above the water and underwater.

However, crawfish can’t swim underwater, they crawl under the water to move from one place to another to find food. As a result, if they can’t crawl on the underwater surface, they will starve and eventually drown.

Do crayfish need land to come out of water?

Crayfish don’t have fins with which they can swim on the water. They crawl on the surface under the water to move from one place to another. As a result, crayfish need land to come out of water.

Crayfish can come out of the water only if they find land to crawl on. Otherwise, they won’t be able to float in the water to come out of the water.

Crayfish usually comes out of the water if there is a shortage of oxygen in the water. They also come out to the land if there is a shortage of food in the water body.

How long can crayfish live on land?

Crayfish can live on land for five to seven days on average. However, if the atmosphere contains enough moisture and humidity, they can live on land for a significant period of time.

This is due to the fact that crayfish pull oxygen from the air when they are on the ground and they can do it better if their gills are moist.

Crayfish live in the wild for up to 30 years. This is possible in the wild because, in the wild, the air is cleaner and weather and conditions are sufficient for the crayfish to inhale oxygen.

How far can crayfish travel on land?

Crayfish can travel several hundred meters on land in a night. There also have been reports that crayfish covered 300 meters on land in two days.

Crayfish can propagate up and downstream to relocate. They can also overcome every type of barrier and migrate across the land to look for food and reach neighboring water bodies.

How to catch crayfish on land?

Crayfish are a member of the lobster family. However, they are quite small compared to the lobsters. Catching crayfish on land is not as simple as it may seem. You will have to do it in the right way to prevent wastage of time and energy.

Have a look at how to catch crayfish on land:

Find a crayfish hole:

Crayfish usually make burrows connecting to the freshwater so that they can have direct access to the oxygen available in the water. After digging the holes, they live on them to prevent becoming prey to other animals.

So, to catch a crayfish, you should first look for a crayfish hole. You will usually find a crayfish hole near a water body as they spend most of their lives in water.

Pour hot water into the crayfish hole:

Now that you have found a crayfish hole it’s time to get them out onto the surface. Although crayfish usually live on the water, they can’t withstand hot and warm water. As a result, you should pour hot water on the crayfish hole to get them out.

However, make sure that you don’t pour boiling water into the hole. Mildly warm water will be enough to draw the crayfishes out of their hole.

Catch them using your hand:

Once the crayfishes start coming out of the hole, you should catch them with your hands. You should keep them in a bucket if there is more than one crayfish in the hole.

While catching the crayfish, make sure to save your fingers from their claws. Otherwise, you might get a cut from their claws, which can be very painful.

Final Thoughts

Crayfish can survive on land as they can breathe natural air. They can breathe air and intake oxygen from it with their special kind of gills. Crayfish come on land if the water body has a shortage of oxygen and food. A few species of crayfish also spend most of their time on land.