Their name maybe cute but they aren't according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. They are the Chinese Mitten Crab and they are on the invasive species list for the Hudson River. The DEC is asking for our help to track this crab in the river. They have a procedure they would like you to follow if you discover one. According to the NYS DEC the Chinese Mitten Crab competes with the Hudson Valley's native blue crab.

The DEC hopes to be able to identify where these crabs are coming from in order to create a management plan so what they need you to do if your come across one is first off don't throw it back into the water. They want you to take a picture, record the place you discovered it with GPS coordinates and then freeze the crab. This is not so you can eventually eat it. They are asking you to freeze it so your have time to send your report and then arrange for the DEC to pick it up from you.

So how do you recognize a Chinese Mitten Crab? Easy they have mittens on their claws or at least that's what it looks like at first glance. You will notice the white tips on the end off the claws and when they are in water you will notice the "hairy knuckles" that look like mittens.

photo by Erik Hanson / NYSDEC
Photo by NY Sea Grant / NYSDEC