The white clawed crayfish is the only species of crayfish native to the British Isles. It is protected under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). It is an offence to intentionally take white-clawed crayfish from the wild. It is also an offence to sell these crayfish.
White Clawed Crayfish
The white-clawed crayfish is the only species of freshwater crayfish native to the UK. It was once widespread in clean, calcareous streams, rivers and lakes in England and Wales and a few areas in Northern Ireland. Many populations have been lost since the 1970s, due to the spread of the signal crayfish and pollution of suitable watercourses with insecticides.
The white clawed crayfish is olive-brown in colour, and has pale-coloured undersides to the claws. It may grow to 12 cm long, although sizes below 10 cm are more common. They inhabit streams and waterways typically around 1metre deep but can also be found in water as shallow as 5cm or as deep as 2.5 metres.
The white-clawed crayfish typically occupies habitats under rocks and submerged logs, among tree roots, algae and macrophytes, although it usually emerges to forage for food. Juveniles in particular may also be found among rocks and leaf litter. Adults sometimes burrow into suitable substrates, in the winter months.