Crickets are a popular choice for livefood and are easily avaible. this caresheet will tell you how to look after them in the best way possible.
How long do crickets live?
Crickets live for around 8 weeks, and only 2-3 of those weeks will they be adult. Because they don’t live long, you need to go through your colony daily and remove any dead ones to prevent the spread of disease.
Are crickets a good choice?
Crickets are fairly easy to keep and are easy to get hold of making them a popular choice. Once you have gut loaded them, they are a nutritional choice for your reptile or amphibian. Another good point is they come in a huge range of sizes, from pinhead which is great for tiny frogs, all the way up to adults which are loved by a bearded dragon. They are also quick, which makes them great to hunt for your pet, offering mental stimulation as well as nutrition (just be sure to remove any uneaten crickets from your pet’s cage)
What should I keep my crickets in?
You need to take them out of the small plastic box they arrive in, or bulk bag as soon as you get home. Transfer them into a large, plastic carrier making sure there is good ventilation. If you are buying pinhead-sized crickets, don’t put anything tall in the tank or they will escape.
Another option is to get a RUB and drill holes in it, just don’t drill the holes too big!
Give them egg cartons to climb on and hide under.
How do I feed crickets to my reptile or amphibian?
You can pick the crickets up with tongs, but this can be tricky are they are quick and delicate and you don’t want to squish them!
If the thought of touching them is making you squirm, you can get something called a Cricket Pen, which means you don’t have to touch them. The idea is the crickets will crawl into the tubes on the sides which you can slide out and knock them into a bag with vitamin dust or calcium before tipping them into your pet’s cage.
Another option is to place some empty toilet roll tubes in their enclosure and then tip the rolls into a bag and shake and dust them
Why do my crickets arrived with egg cartons?
I’ll admit the first time you open your bulk bag or box and you see not only bugs but egg cartons, it’s an unusual sight, however, there is a good reason they are in there.
Crickets are territorial in the wild and usually only a male and female will share a burrow. The egg cartons allow the crickets to have their own territory within the cage and it also increases the surface area within the tank.
It also offers security and shelter to the insects. in the wild, these insects will hide away and although they are food items, it’s still important to keep them as best as you can, especially if you are hoping to breed them.
It makes it easier from a keepers point of view as it makes it easier for the supplier to package them up and easier for you to transfer them into their tank. Just pick the egg carton up and put it in your tank – easy!
The egg cartons are not only useful for behavioural reasons, but the insects will eat the cartons, giving them a good source of fibre (you should feed them other things too though! Read below)
What should I feed my crickets?
Food and water are just as important to your live food as it is to your pets. They need some sort of water source or they will die fairly quickly, and bowls of water are easy to knock over and they can drown. instead of a bowl of water, you can buy Bug Gel which is a jelly-like substance that offers them a way to hydrate. just put some in a shallow bowl or jar lid and change is daily, otherwise, it will go mouldy.
In regards to food, you can buy Bug Grub which is a complete diet for live food, specially made for gut-loading and supplement feed them with things you probably already have at home. You should keep the food in a shallow bowl or jam jar lid to keep it clean and to avoid it mixing with faeces.
Crickets will eat pretty much anything – carrots, apple, potatoes, cat food, leafy greens fish food and oats are all good choices. Just make you sure give them a varied diet to keep them in optimum health.
What are the downsides to keeping crickets?
- Crickets can be noisy – you can buy silent crickets, but sometimes a noisy one sneaks in.
- They do have a certain odour to them, even if kept clean.
- They can harm your reptile or amphibian by snacking on them which is why it’s so important to remove uneaten ones.
- Because they are small and fast, it’s easy for the odd one to escape and it can be tricky to catch them (unless like me you have three cats who deal with any escapees!
If you want to read more, check out my Live food FAQs and to see how to look after different species;