Land crayfish live only in damp environments, which is why the gullies of Baw Baw Shire are home to many species. Here, they are found in swamps, near streams, ephemeral waterways, eucalypt forests or rainforests.
The pipes or chimneys found in Baw Baw Shire are the work of burrowing crayfish. The ‘chimneys’ are made of balls of mud or soil. In wet weather in the wetland or low-lying areas they can be found
and along creeks and waterways. You may never see the crayfish, but you’ll very likely see their ‘pipes’ or chimneys at the entrance and exit of their burrows. Waste from the excavations to their burrows is brought to the surface where pellets of soil are deposited and run down the slope to form a fan of dirt.
There are various land crayfish which are to be found in Baw Baw Shire, the rarest being the Warragul Burrowing Crayfish. The chimneys of these very rare crayfish are often distinctive. They are composed of small, spherical balls of soil with each soil ball around 0.5-1 cm. They can be 2-8cm tall and 5 cm wide).
www.burrowingcrayfish.com.au says they are “Often singular but may consist of a cluster of chimneys. They only appear in the wetter months such as winter and spring.”
Other crayfish create different chimneys which come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and can be small and squat, fan shaped; or some being tall and conical reaching heights over 40 cm. Their subterranean homes vary according to species and depend on their habitat.
Checkout the above website for information on other crayfish of West Gippsland.