Reese Witherspoon Asking The Hard-Hitting Where The Crawdads Sing Question: What Is A Crawdad?

Daisy Edgar Jones in Where the Crawdads Sing
(Image credit: Sony)

This weekend, Where The Crawdads Sing, another book-to-movie adaptation from Reese Witherspoon’s super successful production company Hello Sunshine, hits theaters. At this week’s premiere of the movie, Witherspoon asked the real hard-hitting question many of us have probably been secretly wondering about, but simply accepting as something we definitely know… what the heck are crawdads? 

Depending on where you grew up, you either know exactly what a crawdad is or are nervously googling the word right now. During the Where The Crawdads Sing premiere, Reese Witherspoon asked what the animal in the title of the book is, and no, not everyone knew the answer. Whew, I'm happy it wasn’t just me. 

Does The Cast Know What A Crawdad Is? 

While stunning in a hot pink dress that was very Legally Blonde, Reese Witherspoon decided to ask the cast of Where The Crawdads Sing what exactly it is. Check out the Instagram video:  

There were some mixed answers here. Now it’s time to answer it. 

What Is A Crawdad? 

Crawdads, which are also called crawfish, crayfish and crawdaddies, are aquatic animals that look like small lobsters and live in rivers and streams. They are technically crustaceans, which are cousins of lobsters, shrimps and crabs, per the Columbia Journalism Review.

No one interviewed at the premiere really gave this specific answer, but they were right in a sense of them being shellfish and seafood. Of course, my favorite answer is the one where one person at the premiere thought it was a bird at first because “it sings.” I’m not going to lie to you, that’s what I pictured a crawdad might be at first. But hey, this gal is from Southern California, and crawdaddies are most likely to be found in the Pacific Northwest or the Continental Divides of the Americas that flow through states in the Midwest and East Coast, including North Carolina, which is where Where The Crawdads Sing is set. 

What Does Crawdad Singing Even Mean?

Now that we all have our crawdad education, what’s up with the title of the movie and the Delia Owens novel it’s based on? The title is a saying in the movie that is said by the people of North Carolina. Here’s the moment in the book itself (in Chapter 17): 

‘Well, we better hide way out there where the crawdads sing. I pity any foster parents who take you on.’ Tate’s whole face smiled. ‘What d’ya mean, where the crawdads sing? Ma used to say that..’ Kya remembered Ma always encouraging her to explore the marsh: ‘go as far as you can – way out yonder where the crawdads sing.’ ‘Just means far in the bush where critters are wild, still behaving like critters…’

You can check out CinemaBlend’s review of Where The Crawdads Sing and see what other reviews are saying about the movie ahead of the release this Friday, July 15. Also, you can check out Taylor Swift’s original song for the movie “Carolina” on Spotify now.    

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.