species of mangroves (as opposed to two in Victoria) on all the coasts
of Cape York, there sure is plenty of crab habitat.
Some of the great
spots are Bathurst
River, Escape River mouth and Sadd
Point; the west coast around Aurukun, and the coast south of Pormpuraaw
Kowanyama - but of course you can try anywhere in saltwater creeks,
river estuaries and mudflats.
increase your chances it is good to know a few things about these
crabs. Like a lot of other
animals, crabs are mostly on the move in the
darkness of a night. It pays to leave
your pots in over the night, and even better if it is a
dark (moonless) night.
Also they don't like to walk in strong current,
so obviously calm waters
are the best, and the reason why they talk about the half
moon phase is that this is when there is least run in the
third thing is the bait.
You may be able to catch them with pig heads and leftovers of your
barbeque chicken, but obviously their natural food is things that live
in the water. Fish is a
good one, and it is a great way to make use of the
frame after you have filleted your fish. Just throw it into the freezer
until you go mud crabbing next time.
Also I am sure you know that bag limits and minimum sizes apply,
and these are different in every state in Australia. The ones that
apply in Cape York are all listed in detail in the Destination
are some of the best seafood in Australia. Also
called mangrove crabs (Scylla
they are large crabs with a greenish brown shell.
found in Asia and Africa, and they are very common in north Queensland
and in the waters around Cape York peninsula. They live in salt water
opposed to the freshwater yabbies),
mostly in river mouths and mangroves.
including small fish, dead animals and each other. They
and moulting individuals can be killed and eaten by other crabs. Fish they catch during the
night when the fish are asleep.
They are eaten by
octopus, eels, stingrays, other crabs, and humans. To defend themselves
they have long, sharp claws, a hard shell, and a habit to burrow
themselves into sand or mud and hide there.
considered as delicacy in many countries including
Australia. Catching them is a popular
Cape York trip.
yabby can be caught in Cape York.
It is a
yabby that makes very nice salads and sandwiches.
As opposed to
the salt water mud crabs,
it lives in freshwater
It is found in many creeks in Cape York and is popular to catch.
can be bought
any camping and fishing shops, and good bait to use is fish
or chicken, good
if a bit off as they like rotten meat. But a
surprisingly good bait
is also a potato - read
more tips lower down the page.
What Do They Look Like?
claw yabbies are mostly blueish in colour, ranging between brownish to
greenish blue. But as opposed to the blue claw yabbies found in western
Queensland, male redclaw yabbies - exactly as the name says - have red patches on their claws.
Males are larger than
females and can weigh more than half a kilo and be 25cm
Where Are They Found?
yabbies, although found in many other places, are native to the top end of Northern
Territory, Gulf Savannah, and Cape York. And - Papua New
Although native to tropical climate, they are tolerant to cooler temperatures
and have been introduced to most of Queensland, even New
South Wales, and in the other end of their range to the Kimberley
region in Western Australia.
They are also cultivated
elsewhere in Australia and in the world, and
internationally also found in countries like Singapore, South Africa,
Puerto Rico, Jamaica and Mexico.
On your travels in Cape York and elsewhere in Australia (inland
Queensland is rich on them), you
find them in dams, lakes, freshwater creeks and even fast flowing rivers.
Tips on Catching
them you have to think
like a red claw yabby.
What do they eat, where are they around and when are they on the go?
1. They are known to eat
meat, even rotten meat, and if you think about their environment fish
is obviously a natural meat for them as opposed to a BBQ chicken.
Chicken works, though, as do other kind of meat.
interestingly, they also do eat plants, and as opposed to whatever
water plants you would imagine, potato has shown to be an amazingly
Some even say, go and throw a few potatoes in - the days before you
are planning to go yabbying.
2. Where are they around?
fish, they seem to like structures. I guess any animal likes the
protection of structures, just like coral reef fish hides in the
corals, other fish and other animals are attracted to jettys,
mangroves, rocks etc.
Depths more than 3.5 metres work better I have read.
3. When are they around?
many other animals, red claw yabbies like to be around in the
protection of darkness, even better if it's a moonless night.
So just like with
it's worth leaving your pots
in over the night.
4. Also, don't use nets
with too large openings - or they will eascape too easily
after the meal.
5. And last but not least - don't
get yourself in trouble!
Rules and bag
when yabbying, they are all in the Destination Guide.
oysters found in cape York are black lip and rock oyster.
The rock oyster is
obviously a lot more common, the one that you often see growing on the rocks. They are
often small but they
are possible to pick and
They are oysters endemic to
Australia and New Zealand, and like most other oysters they are found in tidal areas in salt water.
Like other oysters they grow slowly, and like most others they also change sex as part of their life
cycle, being born as males and becoming females later in
They are filter feeders, eating planctonic algea from the sea water.
Apart from us, they are
eaten by mud crabs, stingrays fish and birds -
particularly the ones called oystercatchers.
Black Lip Oyster
Black lip oyster is a
different thing but it is also found in Cape York (as
opposed to the rock oyster it is not found in southern Australia).
It likes the warm
tropical waters and is found in Indo Pacific coral reefs,
and is also found in other tropical countries like Papua New Guinea,
and Nicobar Islands,
French Polynesia, India,
Sudan; and also in Red
Sea and Persina Gulf.
In Cape York, it is
obviously rarer than rock oyster,
but been found in a few places including Cape Melville, Bathurst Head,
Lockhart River, Cape Grenville, Sadd Point, and the coast near Aurukun.
rock oysters they are bivalve mollusks, but the main difference is
(obviously apart from being different species), that the black lip oyster can grow a pearl
inside if a grain of sand or other material is trapped inside.
And it's the highly valued black
pearl - regarded the highest quality pearl oyster within
The black lip pearl oysters are collected from the reef and also grown
in pearl oyster farms.
this 50 pages
guide totally for FREE.
contains information that helps you getting started with planning of your trip.
You get to make early-stages desicions such as when to go, how long time you
should take, how to get
there and get
to stay (general info), what
will it cost..
and a short insight to what is there to see and do in Cape York.
This complete 300 pages
travel guide is all you need before and during your trip. Besides the
background chapters on the peninsula's history and wildlife; and the comprehensive detail about all
the places (down to prices, opening hours and full contact
detail), it has invaluable information on at least 10 four wheel drive tracks,
at least 30 guaranteed FREE
camping spots on the Cape (and at least 150 on your way to
the Cape), at least 40 best
swimming holes, all mapped; as well as practical things -
from fuel, roads, wireless internet and mobile phone reception,
how to deal with the national
parks booking rules; and Aboriginal land entrance and camping permits
and alcohol restrictions - to vehicle preparation and accessories and necessary recovery
gear by my partner
Mark who is the recovery guy on northern Cape York and the Old
Not to mention locals'
tips on how to spot that croc and palm cockatoo ;-)
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This site uses British
English, which is the English we use in
best efforts have been made to ensure that all the information on this
website is correct, this site is not to be blamed should there be a
As of Winter - Spring 2018 this site is getting upgraded, and the domain name changed from the original www.cape-york-australia.com to the new www.capeyorkaustralia.com While this is happening, you will find some things under construction, and some photos blurrier than normal, as their new dimensions affect their quality (until they get changed). They need changing one by one - with hundreds of pages it will take some time before the whole site looks good again, but I am gradually working on it as quick as I can.