Yabbies are a type of freshwater crayfish or crawdad as the Americans call them, which are found in Australia.
They are a crustacean which has an external skeleton. Yabbies have smoothed shells and can be many colors, depending on the habitat where they live.
Greens, browns yellows blues and black are not at all uncommon in these small animals.
Yabbies grow to be several inches long, depending on the habitat and conditions, and have little stalks which contain an eye at the end of each one.
They have 3 sets of antennae which provide them the ability to touch things Yabbies have gills like fish so they can “breathe” under water.
Like most crayfish the Yabbies have 2 large lobster style pincher claws.
Mainly these are used for defense against predators or sometimes other Yabbies, but they may also be used for digging and grabbing food items.
Yabbies have a very long thick tail and three sets of legs to walk with.
They live in dams, waterholes, irrigation channels of mainland Australia. Originally they were native to the Darling and Murray. They house themselves in small tunnels that they dig into the sides of the waterhole.
They keep the waterways clean by eating rotting vegetation and small remains of dead animals and fish. They also feed on fresh plants worms and insects and can be cannibalistic in their feeding tendencies. ICK.
In courtship the male Yabby uses his claws to win the favor of the female after mating the male has no interest at all in helping with the raising of the young yabby.
The eggs which have been fertilized lies between the female’s rear legs and she will curve her tail over them to cover and protect them. She will lay literally hundreds of eggs.
Anywhere from 100 to 800 can be laid at one time. After birth the young hang onto their mother for about 5 weeks. Can you imagine carrying over 500 children?
Yabbies shells are hard so as they grow they become too small for the yabby inside. They throw away this old shell and grow a new one, which hardens in about 2 days.