You may never have heard of mitten crabs.
After reading this, you may be sorry you now have.
The small (3 inch) brownish crustacean with hairy, white-tipped claws — it looks like a mitten – is not native to Connecticut. But it’s here.
According to Dick Harris — a marine scientist who conducts environmental assessments for Copps Island Oysters — mitten crabs burrow into mud. Those habits threaten stream bank stability, promoting erosion and habitat loss. They can even undermine structures built nearby.
Last year, mitten crabs were found in the Housatonic and Mianus Rivers. On Wednesday, one was caught right here, in
Muddy Deadman Brook.
They are the only crabs in North America that spend time in fresh water. Salt water predators include sea bass and black crabs. In fresh water, their only danger comes from raccoons.
Harris wants Westporters to know how dangerous this invasive species can be. If you catch one, freeze it or preserve it in alcohol. Note the date and location of the capture, and call Harris: 203-246-6696.