Hampstead Heath London

October 8, 2012 by  

Hampstead Heath London, Swimmers are being warned not to swim in the nude in open-air ponds – because of an invasion of crayfish. The Red Swamp Crayfish, which are native to America, have rocketed in numbers in the past few months at two ponds in Hampstead Heath, north London. There are now estimated to be more than 5,000 of the five-inch long crayfish, which use their powerful claws to catch fish in the ponds and are ‘very defensive’ of their territory.

But after an increase in the number of ‘attacks’ on swimmers – who regularly take nude dips in the two giant ponds all year round – locals have been warned to ‘beware’ of the crayfish nipping at them as they swim.

The warning came from Doug Slade, the chair of the Anglers’ Association of Hampstead Heath, after one fisherman reported catching 180 crayfish in just 60 minutes.

He said: “They just breed and breed and breed – they eat all the fish in the ponds and there is nothing we can do to stop them.

“We don’t want them here as they are destroying the wildlife.”

Park by-laws dictate that the crayfish can only be removed with a special licence, and in the past it has allowed contractors to remove hundreds of the nippy non-native creatures from the ponds.

Recently, however, the numbers have rocketed – meaning more and more swimmers are ‘feeling a pinch’ when they take a dip in the ponds.

Swimmer Peter McCafferty, 43, said: “I have been seeing more and more crayfish being pulled out of the ponds and I am very wary of them.

“I’ve had a couple of nips on my toes in the past few months – usually when I stop for a rest and tread water, but some people have been nipped in altogether more sensitive places which doesn’t bear thinking about.”

Park bosses have also been alerted to the illegal fishing of the crayfish by Chinese restaurant workers, who serve up the dish in local eateries.

A spokesman for the City of London Corporation, which runs the Heath, said this week: “We would prefer it if the crayfish had not been released in the first place given that they are a non-native species.

“But now that they are here, we would recommend that swimmer to keep their distance to avoid getting a pinch.”

Report to Team

Please feel free to send if you have any questions regarding this post , you can contact on

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site are that of the authors and not necessarily that of U.S.S.POST.


Comments are closed.