'Mr Pinchy' is the latest inhabitant to take up residence at Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm within Minibeast Metropolis. The brightly coloured Red-Clawed Crayfish, also known as Cherax quadricarinatus, or Yabby, originates from Australia and Papua New Guinea. Crayfish have been widely trans-located around the world and are considered an invasive species with established populations in South Africa, Mexico, Jamaica and Puerto Rico. Invasive populations are often a direct result of human interference, combined with the versatile nature of the species. There are at least six known species of invasive crayfish in the UK. The American Signal Crayfish carries a type of crayfish plague which is causing our native white-clawed crayfish to die out in waters where the signal crayfish has invaded. The Yabby's inability to reproduce in cold, temperate climates removes the threat of invasion of UK waters, making them the only species of crayfish legally allowed to be kept in aquaria under UK law.
Their colour ranges from dark brown to blue-green and adult males have a distinct red patch on the outer margin of their claws. Their colour intensifies as the crayfish matures. Because of their selective breeding, they only tend to lose their colour if they are fed or housed incorrectly.
From 16 - 24 February children and adults can take part in twice daily 'Meet the Mini-Beast' handling sessions in the Discovery Zone with the Education Team. Visitors can hold creatures such as a Madagascan Hissing Cockroach, giant African Millipede, African Land Snail and a variety of Stick Insects.
Jane Kendrick, Marketing Manager at Stratford Butterfly Farm said "The Red Claw Crayfish is a new and very promising aquaculture species and I'm sure Mr Pinchy will be popular amongst our visitors. It's the first time we've had a Red-Clawed Crayfish, he's great fun to watch and will grow in size, almost to that of a lobster! Along with our Meet the Mini-beast handling sessions and seeing the rest of our inhabitants, the Stratford Butterfly Farm has something for everyone to enjoy this February half term!"
To see hundreds of spectacular butterflies, insects, reptiles and spiders visit the Butterfly Farm from 10am to 5:00pm, last entry 4pm. Open every day of the week except Christmas Day. For more information including admission prices and group rates, please visit the website at http://www.butterflyfarm.co.uk or telephone on 01789 299288.