Thursday, September 29, 2011

A riverbank tale

Gave the dogs an amble along the valley riverbank yesterday. More of a stream really. Only about a foot deep at the moment due to lack of rain and a September heatwave (been about 30° over the last week - very hot for the time of year). While the dogs paddle about, I often look for signs of life in the water. Spotted a fish once, only a tiddler.  And a couple of scampering water rats. But that's about all.

However, yesterday I spotted something interesting lying in the grass by the riverside. Looked like a couple of crab's claws. My first thought was that someone had left them there after a picnic. Strange though, I've never seen anyone picnicking round these parts. And I can't imagine any of the locals noshing something as pricey as a crab, apart from at Christmas maybe.

Then I noticed a little head. And crabs don't have heads. So I presumed it must have been a gigantic shrimp of some kind. But what's it doing here - we're hundreds of miles from the sea? Slowly it dawned on me that I was looking at the remains of a freshwater shrimp. A big 'un. Probably caught and eaten by a water rat. Obviously a water rat that was highly experienced in the art of avoiding getting injured by lethal claws, killing, and then removing head and claws before noshing.

If there's one giant freshwater shrimp up these parts, there must be others. Shall keep my eyes peeled in future.

P.S. - It's apparently a freshwater crayfish. Was, rather.