Aussie neighbours confused by 'intriguing' creature in front yard

It's not every day you find such an "intriguing" creature mincing about in the front yard of a suburban home. So naturally, a pair of neighbours were left more than a little puzzled by the encounter after coming across the animal this week.

"A neighbour found this ‘yabby’ in his suburban front yard," a Melbourne resident posted to an online group for local naturalists on Friday. "It’s got five pairs of legs including three pairs of nippers – and is about 15 cm long."

While the pair of locals thought it looked like a yabby, it seemed curiously far away from its natural habitat.

"No obvious signs of any burrows but the house is on stumps. Also no free water within a kilometre and the water table is at least two metres under," the resident added.

A large, pristine yabby spotted on concrete pavers in a Melbourne front yard.
This gorgeous guy left the locals a little baffled. Source: Facebook

The creature was indeed identified as the Common Yabby Cherax destructor, with a marine expert from Museums Victoria telling Yahoo News Australia such yabbies "are common in ponds, lakes and other bodies of still water throughout south-eastern Australia".

However it's location in this instance – in the Melbourne suburb of Malvern East – had people stumped.

"It’s definitely a Yabby (Cherax destructor), but possibly someone’s escaped pet, bait or food or it could be natural, I’ve seen stranger things happen," one person commented.

How it got there remains a mystery with people speculating the notorious escape artists could have fled a nearby aquarium, a fisherman or even been dropped by a bird.

"That is a regular yabbie, as opposed to the land variety that live in burrows/towers around the Dandenongs and Yarra Ranges. My best bet is it is an escaped captured one, intended for someone’s dinner, due to its size. It will be happy in any dam that you happen to place it," one person commented.

"It has some lovely blue colourings. Must have lived in clearer waters. Supports the escapee theory," another added.

Yabby legs previously found in same suburb

It's not the first time a homeowner has been left baffled by the presence of suspected yabbies in the area. Earlier this year, a resident of the same Melbourne suburb noticed a whole lot of dismembered crustacean legs in their backyard after clearing out a drain pipe.

Yabby legs pictured in backyard
The Melbourne local came across the suspected yabby legs in their backyard drain pipe while clearing out leaves. Source: Reddit

It is actually common for yabbies to be found with claws or legs missing thanks to competitive fights with other yabbies for food and dominance or trying to escape from a predator. In this case it was speculated the legs could've washed in via a stormwater drain.

According to the NSW Department of Primary Industries, the common yabby is "the most abundant and successful of the Australian freshwater crayfishes."

In February this year, the iconic Aussie creature took TikTok by storm after a video went viral showing thousands of them crawling out of a river in remote western NSW.

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