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October 17, 2018

Alligator Grass

By: Barry Toups

Alligator Grass

Barry Toups has been crawfish farming for several years and continually works to have his ponds produce the best tasting and largest number of crawfish possible. One of the things he has discovered is that the presence of alligator grass in his ponds is beneficial to crawfish.

Alligator grass is normally considered a weed, and in fact sometimes referred to as alligator weed. It is a very aggressive plant and will grow where wet or moist conditions exist. Lower portions of the plant may be submerged under water where they grow extensively. This is good because, according to Barry, the more alligator grass, the better. In fact, when it takes over, it will smother all of the bad weeds, such as cat tails and indigo.

The best way to encourage crawfish growth is to make sure they have plenty to eat. First, consider what crawfish eat. They are actually omnivores meaning they eat both sides of the food chain. They eat algae and water plants. They will also eat shrimp, dead fish, plants, insects, worms, submerged decaying vegetation, deriving nutrients mainly from bacteria and the decomposing associated with it. Alligator grass is a great food for crawfish because it withstands summer and winter well. Therefore, crawfish in Barry’s ponds have a lot of sweet fat all season long. In fact, the peeling plants where he brings his crawfish love them, particularly at the end of the season, because of all the fat in the tails.

Photo Credits: Paul Scannell Photography, Christopher LeCoq Photography
Thank you to Paradise Louisiana for the use of photography during their filming and visit to Crawfish Haven/Mrs. Rose's Bed and Breakfast.

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