The Chinese mitten crab takes its name from its large, white-tipped claws, which are covered in soft fur.
However, these Asian crustaceans are anything but soft and cuddly, and have a ravenous appetite for almost anything that gets in their way. Their extensive burrowing leaves fragile canal and riverbanks riddled with holes leaving them vulnerable to collapse, and they can also damage drainage embankments and structures.
They were first discovered in England more than 70 years ago, and it is thought they were accidentally transported here and elsewhere in Europe in the ballast of ships. In the right conditions the mitten crab can reproduce and spread at an alarming rate, travelling up to 1500km along some rivers and canals, and migrating towards the sea in order to breed.
Last date edited: 29 July 2015