American Invasion: Imported Crawfish Are Taking Over a Park in Berlin

Close-Up Of Crayfish On Shore

Remember how irresponsible python owners released their dangerous snakes into the wetlands of south Florida, only to have the population spike and put the local ecosystem at risk? Germans are dealing with a similar situation, but with New Orleans’ favorite crustacean, the Louisiana crawfish.

It looks like these imported mudbugs are fairly popular pets for freshwater aquarium owners in Berlin, but when they realize that their pretty crimson crayfish will soon consume every bit of plant life in the aquarium, the little invertebrate is sometimes thrown out. Apparently enough people have dumped their American crawfish into the water at Berlin’s Tiergarten park, that locals are now complaining about encountering “unusually large crabs, ‘lobsters,’ and even giant ‘scorpions.’”

The invasive Louisiana crawfish pose several problems for the large park, including edging out the native crawfish by competing for the same resources while infecting them with fungi and other diseases. They're also breeding like crazy. Groups of American crawfish have been found hanging out all around the park and the nearby Spanish embassy while waving their little claws at anyone who gets too close.

If you live near Tiergarten park and want to help clear the area of the scarlet American invaders, too bad. Germany has strict poaching laws that forbid anyone from collecting them, and the government is hedging their bets that local foxes and raccoons will eventually take care of the problem.

Louisiana crawfish are native to the southern and southeastern United States, as well as northern Mexico, but are considered an invasive species throughout parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa where these mudbugs have been introduced into the wild. America’s crawfish aren’t the only North American species to invade Europe, as bullfrogs, raccoons, and Canadian geese are also considered to be problem animals across the continent.