I was eating my first batch of boiled crawfish for the season with a friend the other day and I noticed she didn’t eat several of them. I asked why and her response was because the tail was straight. I immediately start thinking, is there something I don’t know about? I eat the crawfish with straight tails and never knew I wasn’t supposed to. I knew the straight-tail meant that the crawfish was dead before it was cooked, but I didn’t know that meant we shouldn’t eat them. Apparently, many people believe you should never eat those and their families passed that information on from past generations.

If you live in South Louisiana, you will eat many boiled crawfish when they’re in season. It’s a tradition that has been passed down through families with many different recipes and customs. Through the years, it’s been said not eat the straight-tails.


Apparently, there is an old myth that says that cooked crawfish with straight tails were dead before cooking and it is best to avoid consuming them.  According to CajunCrawfish, when the crawfish is cooked its abdomen usually curls as a result of muscle contraction. Therefore, the assumption is if their abdomens are decaying or decomposed in any way, it could prevent the muscle from contracting. CajunCrawfish says that research done by the LSU College of Agriculture says that “dead crawfish, even after five days in a cooler, exhibited about the same degree of curl as live crawfish when cooked.” The research showed that the straight tail was most likely a result of putting too many crawfish in the pot at once. You can read more about their research on straight-tail crawfish by clicking here.

CajunCrawfish did add that if the meat is mushy or crumbles, not to eat it. Otherwise, straight tail or curled tail, it’s all good.

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