Friday, March 23, 2012

An Epidemic.

So this week, a few of us at work decided to sneak away for lunch and have a picnic at the Skokie Lagoons.  While we were walking towards the water, i spotted something large and bluish in the grass, and assumed it was some kind of urban scorpion (naturally)  Upon closer inspection, it was decided that it was obviously some kind of kids toy lobster figurine.  It was much smaller than a lobster, maybe 3-4 inches.  I ignored it and proceeded to stuff my face.  

Because i eat so fast, i was done with my lunch in about two minutes, while most people were still unfolding their napkins.  I started to poke around in the water, because i am a curious soul.  I saw ANOTHER toy lobster thing, only this gray, in the water, and missing the front half.  One of my associates pointed out that it was a crawfish (crayfish?) and also that i am an idiot.  And that it was dead.  What a sad turn to a picnic in the park.  I poked at it for a while with a stick, but it seemed so much more macabre knowing that it was half of a dead crawfish.

But more importantly - What the hell is a crawfish doing in Chicago??  Here is exhibit A:  (my friend Jenny went back and snapped a picture of the first crawfish for evidence.
Specimen A
Upon some very technical side by side analysis via google images, it is definitely a crawfish.  But is it real?  Where did it come from?  Why is it blue?  Lord knows i wasn't going to touch it to find out.

Fast forward to last night.  I went to run on the north branch trail, in a part that was probably 4 miles from crawfish specimen A.  I was also on a bike path.  I was also not near a body of water.  What do i see on the path in front of me?  A gray crawfish, walking across the path as if he owned it.  In my book, the case is closed.  Apparently, there are crawfish in Chicago.  (That, and i googled it, and apparently they are an invasive species introduced about 50 years ago as fishing bait.  so yeah, my theory holds.)  If you're curious, you can read about it here.

But seriously, i have lived in Illinois my entire life, and Chicago a good portion of that life and NEVER seen one of these babies. This week i have seen THREE!  (two and a half if you want to be precise)  Obviously, because of the freak March heatwave, the crawfish population has soared to epic proportions, and we have an epidemic (or maybe plague?) on our hands.  

You heard it here first.  You've been warned!



  2. Creepy!!

    I hate creepy, crawly things like that. If I saw one crawling across the path while I was running there would be much screaming. Just ask Kim over at ilaxstudio about the time we saw a snake while running.

  3. Ha ha ha. Yes. Erin screamed like a little girl when we saw a snake on the trail. I like to send her pictures of snakes... because I am mean. And I thought it was cute that she was scared.

    I also did not know we had crawfish, but I appreciate the warning! Love that you got out for a picnic during lunch!!!

  4. Ummm weird. I have lived in the Midwest my whole life and never seen one either. I do know that if I saw one sitting next to me while picnicking I would not like it one bit, lol!

  5. my brothers used to catch them from the pond near our high school when we were little. However, I look at them and think WHY would anyone want to eat them? Of course, you could say the same for lobster, shrimp, crab, etc. For some reason, crawfish seem grosser to me. Maybe because I know they lived in the pond at my high school and it's basically a giant garbage can.

  6. What on earth? I thought those were a southern thing!

  7. The North Branch Trail definitely has some interesting creatures that creep around in there. Down where I run I have seen a white rooster 3 times last summer..yes a white rooster!!! And in 2010, I had a favorite turtle that always crossed the path in the same spot usually on Wednesdays...You should scoop a few of them up and cook em! Crawdads are delish!! :)

  8. Crayfish (that one looks like the invasive one (a rusty I think) - lots of people use them as bait. could've dropped I guess