'Amazing' find on Aussie verandah likely 'escaped from aquarium'

The Northern Territory resident questioned how the yabby appeared on her property so far away from any water – but there's a major clue in its colour.

A bizarre yabby discovery on the verandah of a home in the Top End has left Australians stunned, leaving many, including the resident, wondering how on earth it got there.

The "amazing" animal, a bright blue yabby, somehow made its way onto the property, despite the closest body of water being nearly a kilometre away.

"This little guy just crawled onto our verandah. It's approximately 10cm long," the baffled resident shared on social media after noticing the curious crustacean at her home in Darwin. "We are located around 700m from Rapid Creek, up a slight hill," she added.

Bright blue red claw yabby.
The blue yabby has been identified as a red claw yabby, native to the northern states of Australia. Source: Facebook

Yabby theories emerge on social media

The homeowner asked if "anyone had a theory" as to how it managed to travel so far from water, suggesting it might have been picked up and "dropped by a Brahminy Kite" — a type of eagle she said is nesting nearby. She also thought it might have travelled up the hill from the creek or that it could have "escaped from someone's tank".

The theories flooded in from perplexed Aussies who agreed it was an "amazing" sight. "Very rare! I’ve always wanted to see one of them," one person commented.

"It would’ve walked up there, they can walk for up to 7km overnight in search of new water," one suggested.

"Usually the blue ones are tank escapees," another said.

Expert reveals likely explanation

Identifying the animal Dr Richard Marchant, Senior Curator Entomology, at the Museums Victoria Research Institute said he was reasonably sure the yabby in the photo is "cherax quadricarinatus" — commonly referred to as the Australian red claw yabby or crayfish.

"This species can naturally be blue, but the strong blue colour of this specimen suggests that it might have escaped from someone’s aquarium," he explained to Yahoo News Australia.

"Yabbies kept in aquaria supplied with tap water can turn blue because fluoride in tap water can replace some of the calcium in the shell of the yabby, and this results in a blue colour. I doubt the specimen was dropped by a bird because it does not appear damaged in any way."

Rapid Creek Barrage in Darwin.
The closest body of water to the woman's home is Rapid Creek, 700 metres down a hill. Source: Google Images

The red claw yabby is an Australian freshwater crayfish native to tropical Queensland and the Northern Territory. In their native range, red claw inhabit a diversity of freshwater habitats including still ponds, small creeks, isolated rock pools and fast-flowing rivers.

It's different to the common yabby, or cherax destructor, which tends to be bigger and is found across most of Victoria, western NSW, southwest Queensland and eastern South Australia.

Common yabby can walk far in search of water

The common yabby, or cherax destructor, can in fact walk long distances on land, as many in the comments suggested. According to the Australian Museum, they can travel many kilometres across wet land in search of new waters to make home.

As for the redclaw yabby, however, Marchant said "I do not know how far they will travel over land, but I suspect it is not very far," ruling out the possibility that it travelled 700 metres from the creek.

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