How to Care for Your New Cherax destructor
Aqualand's inside scoop on Australia's Rowdiest Yabbie


Cherax destructor Factoids



Maximum Size

Four or five inches plus claws -- really long claws


Five years


Likes space but will hide under a log or in a burrow


Hides during day. More active at night.


Room temp fine.  Breeds faster when warmer.

Sexual Maturity Females mature sexually their first year. Males later.
Breeding Yabbies breed September thru May (14 hours of daylight)


Argumentative but shy burrower


Devours plants, flakes, and pelleted foods


Prefers clean, hard water

Tough Tolerates dry periods and salt in the water
US Threats Herons, bullfrogs, turtles, big fish, Cajuns, each other
OZ Threats Cormorants, herons, kookaburras, ibises

Ready for battle at all times.

Prologue.  I started this page a l-o-n-g time ago, then just let it sit for a while.  (I get distracted easily.)  Anyway, various Australian yabbies/crayfish/lobsters come into the hobbyist market on a sporadic basis.  Their breeding season runs about the opposite of ours because they live on the opposite side of the globe ("a land down under" as Men at Work used to say).  Cherax subsumes some 47 different species.  C. destructor is the best known, the most eaten, and the most destructive yabbie.  Australia raises tons of these Australian "mud bugs" for food.

Cherax destructor.  Large claws usually denote males.  Ditto in the other yabbies/crayfish/lobsters.

Our Louisiana crayfish showing how yabbies protect their eggs and yabbiettes.

After a week or so, they run away from mom's protective tail and head out on their own.

Ideal Commercial Yabbie.  C. destructors easily tolerate dry spells and salt in their water.  During dry spells they burrow straight down to the water level and wait for the rains to return.  Not all make it, but those that survive emerge with a desire to re-populate their new private pool.  Females can breed as early as one year of age and produce several litters per season.  The moms carry their eggs and baby yabbies under their tails -- just like our native crayfish.  Babies grow quickly on detritus and whatever else they stumble across -- animal or vegetable.  They're not picky eaters.

Newly emerged yabbie protecting his formal shell.

Molting.  Yabbies grow by eating lots of food and sucking in lots of water.  This cracks their shells open,  They then wriggle out of their former armor and hide while their new larger exoskeleton hardens.  Before they harden, they are extremely vulnerable.  You can handle them easily at this stage.  Other adult yabbies love to eat the tasty shell-less yabbies.

Providing a good hiding place increases survival rates.

This guy would enjoy a tasty smaller yabbie dinner.

C. destructor claws make great weapons.

Handle your yabbie like any other pinching crayfish.

Last Words.  C. destructors overpower other species when introduced into new areas.  They out-reproduce and overpower their competition.  Australia warns their fishermen not to release their unused bait into non-Cherax destructor waters.  Some of their other species are evidently tastier and thus pricier by the pound.  I know they certainly cost more in the hobby.  See Australian Yabbies for some of the other species.  LA

2012  LA Productions


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