Do Crayfish Eat Worms? What Types of Worm? (Crawfish/Crawdad)

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Crayfish are freshwater crustaceans that look much like lobsters and are also called crawfish or known as crawdads in some places.

You can describe a crayfish as an omnivore because they consume both plants and meat. But do crayfish eat worms?

The answer is yes, Crayfish do eat worms. If you observe crayfish in the wild, you will find that they eat almost anything from worms, shrimp, and insects to algae and plankton.

However, most owners of pet crayfish prefer to feed them with shrimp pellets and they also eat algae wafers which are manufactured as their food.

Though being omnivores, they eat most things, even worms.

They eat more than just worms – they also eat animals, both dead and live; hence, they can survive in almost any condition with most foods they can find.

In this article, we will talk in greater depth about a crayfish’s diet, if worms are included in their diet and what kind of worms they like to eat.

Do Crayfish Eat Earthworms?

Yes, crayfish do eat earthworms but it’s very rare they’ll ever meet an earthworm in the wild in their natural habitat unless a rainstorm has washed a worm into their water.

But pet crayfish are often fed earthworms by their owners. (you’ll see a Crayfish eating an earthworm a bit further in this article..)

In fact, worms are an excellent source of calcium and protein for crayfish.

A crayfish can eat almost anything to fuel its need for nutrition, starting from live insects and worms to dead plants and weeds.

Since a lot of pet lovers keep crayfish as pets nowadays, you might be concerned if these worms contain parasites and bacteria that can be potentially harmful to their digestive system but you shouldn’t worry.

They have a robust digestive system that helps them break down and digest whatever food they eat pretty well. Just give the earthworms a wash and you’re good to go.

Its close family members and many species like the freshwater lobsters and the crab also can eat a diet of worms and other plants, which are well digested by these crustaceans.

Their hard inner layer of skin is what helps them break up their food the moment it gets ingested, along with the spikes on their mouth that break down the food further for easy digestion.

Video of Crayfish Eating an Earthworm

Below is a cool video I found of a pet crayfish eating a giant earthworm in an aquarium (Including some pretty fun background music!)

As you can see here, it’s unequivocal proof that crayfish do indeed eat earthworms.

Can Crayfish Eat Meal Worms?

Yes. Crayfish can eat mealworms without any worry.

Many people worry about feeding worms or any other food items that they may not eat in the wild to their crayfish, but they are perfectly capable of digesting any food, live or dead.

However, in some instances, your crayfish may not prefer to eat mealworms or worms of any type if it is not accustomed to this kind of food.

Other than this, it is perfectly safe to feed mealworms to your crayfish.

Since invertebrates like the mealworm are packed with a lot of nutrients, it is recommended that you feed your crayfish some worms in their diet which will help them on their way to becoming full-size adults.

It would help if you looked out for how many mealworms you feed them in a day.

Typically, the number lies between 10 and 20 mealworms, depending on their size.

Baby crayfish may require less food than adult crayfish, or it can even vary depending on what else you add to their diet. If it is just mealworms, you may have to feed them more than the average amount.

Do Crayfish Eat Detritus Worms?

Yes, crayfish eat detritus worms.

Because crayfish are omnivorous and can eat dead and living things, their diet is not very picky.

However, you will hardly find a crayfish living in the wild to go out of their way to catch detritus worms to eat.

Detrius worms tend to be an indication that your tank is dirty.

In most cases, they eat these worms when they chance upon them or if ever they are presented with an opportunity to eat them without being preyed on.

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Do Crayfish Eat Bloodworms?

Yes, most crayfish eat bloodworms.

Like other kinds of worms on a crayfish’s diet, bloodworms also provide them with a lot of nutrients.

Bloodworms are quite a healthy food item for crayfish because they are packed with protein which is good for the growth of the crayfish.

If you are keeping the crayfish as pets in an aquarium, bloodworms can be given to them as part of balanced and healthy diet to develop and grow young crayfish into full-sized adults.

If you’re buying bloodworms from the market, it is advisable to get the biggest ones you can find so that it is easier for the crayfish to eat them.

Some people even buy bloodworms and freeze them to feed them to their crayfish.

This keeps the bloodworms fresh for longer so you can store their food and provide them at a later time.

Will They Eat Crayfish Worms?

You might have seen little white worms on the body, claws and walking legs of your crayfish.

These are called crayfish worms and aren’t harmful to them.

Unfortunately, your crawfish is not able to eat these tiny worms and in many cases, aren’t able to catch them in the first place.

If they multiply rapidly on your crawfish, crayfish worms can start to irritate them.

If you see your crawfish start fidgeting more than it used to as a result of these worms, then it may be time to give them a short 15 minute saltwater bath.

This isn’t harmful to the crawfish, but does kill off these little pests that are annoying them in their tank.


As we’ve discussed before, crayfish eat almost anything they can find, including worms.

But crayfish are not necessarily predators of marine life, including other fish as it’s rare they can catch them unless they’re injured. Your freshwater fishes should be safe from them.

If you look at crayfish in the wild, you will see that they mainly feed themselves at night so as to avoid other more giant predators and come out of hiding spots.

They may find different foods like dead animals and other creatures on the water bed.

They are also omnivorous and scavengers, so they eat both meat and plants/vegetables (frozen peas are popular), whether alive or dead.

When it comes to worms, they’re no exception for feeding crayfish – they love them.

They eat all kinds of worms and are actually a better part of their diet because it is packed with nutrients.

Crayfish are not picky eaters; they are neither picky about their living conditions as long as it’s fresh water.

Apart from this healthy diet, if you are breeding crayfish, ensure that you have a good and healthy environment for them and the young crayfish to thrive in, such as removing other fish that might prey on them in the same fish tank.

You don’t want their babies eaten!

It is advisable not to keep other freshwater fish with the young crayfish because they may also feed and compete for similar food items. Yes, even small fish!

Having said this, do not be surprised to see your crawfish eating its own eggs. They will eat whatever foods they can get their claws on.

Fun (or not so fun for pet owners) Fact: Crawfish are considered a delicious seafood by some. They live in freshwater, and so don’t have the intense flavor and aroma like most seafood which makes them popular with people who don’t enjoy really “fishy” tasting seafood or fish.

More fun facts: Crayfish have a plethora of different names depending on the location, including…

  • freshwater lobsters
  • mountain lobsters
  • rock lobsters
  • crawfish
  • craydids
  • mudbugs
  • baybugs
  • crawdaddies
  • crawdads
  • yabbies

We hope we answered your question about feeding worms to crawfish in your tank.

All species of crawfish in your aquarium will eat worms (so will those in ponds, streams etc that aren’t pets!)

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