If you own a pet who loves to chow down on some tasty crickets, you will be pleased to know that you can breed them at home. This will save you a lot of money and eliminate regular trips to the pet store.
Anyone who has ever owned an animal that eats live crickets will know that they can get through quite a few of these little insects quickly. Unfortunately, this can mean repeated trips to the pet supply store to stock up, which can get expensive over time.
However, many pet owners have wondered whether they can breed their crickets at home, and the good news is that this is entirely possible.
In this article, we will look at how you can successfully breed crickets and have a constant supply of food for your beloved pet.
Can I breed crickets?
Crickets are relatively easy to breed, given the proper setup and food source.
For example, you will need a well-ventilated space of at least 10 gallons, a container for the cricket eggs, and a container for the cricket larvae.
The substrate you choose is also essential as it needs to hold moisture but not be too wet. Once you have your supplies, you must locate a male and female cricket.
You can do this by putting them in separate containers and then looking for the male calling sound he makes to attract mates.
Alternatively, you can look for physical differences, such as the ovipositor on the female abdomen. Once you have found a compatible pair, they can be placed in the breeding container together.
If everything goes well, the female will lay her eggs on the moist substrate, and then both parents can be removed.
The eggs will hatch in about two weeks, and the larvae will go through several molts before adulthood.
When choosing what to feed your crickets, it is essential to offer a variety of food sources such as vegetables, fruits, and invertebrate prey items
. Crickets are also known to eat their shedding skin, so You may want to leave some pieces in their enclosure for them to eat. With a bit of time and effort, anyone can successfully breed crickets.
What Types Of Animals Eat Crickets?
A vast range of animals use crickets as a staple part of their diet, and many of these have been domesticated. Feeding your pet crickets may feel gross at first, especially if you are not used to dealing with live food, but you will soon become used to it, and it will feel like second nature.
If you own any of the following pets, crickets will likely form an essential part of their nutrition.
How Do I Breed Crickets
Getting Set Up
Of course, without crickets, you cannot breed them, so you first need to source some suitable quality crickets. In the main, most experts recommend buying 3/4″ crickets to get started.
Most crickets will have already been bred when you purchase them, but this should not be a problem since these creatures breed around every two weeks.
You will also need to find somewhere to house your cricket supply. When you buy them from the pet store, they usually come in a container, but this will not be sufficient for crickets that will be breeding; they need somewhere a little larger.
In most cases, a tank between 10 and 20 gallons should be more than enough for your cricket colony to thrive.
Essential Things To Remember With Housing
The size of the cricket housing is important, but other essential factors must be kept in mind. For example, crickets can jump, and you may be surprised to learn that a fully grown cricket can jump as high as three feet! This means you must ensure they cannot clear the top of the enclosure – unless you are happy to have them hopping around the home, which most people will not like.
You can use a cover, but make sure that it is vented so that the crickets have good airflow through the tank.
Any live food that is bred for pets should be gut-loaded. This means that the crickets have been fed an appropriate diet that will benefit the animal feasting on them. The idea is that the crickets will eat a nutritious diet that will then be passed on to their predator.
You can feed your crickets fresh fruit and vegetables, but plenty of other foods are perfect for gut-loading this type of prey.
- Tropical fish flakes
- Leafy greens such as kale
- Potato peelings
It is important to remember that the gut-loading process should be done for at least 24 hours before you offer the food to your pet; this will ensure maximum nutrients.
It may take a while for the mating process to start since crickets do not mature for between one and two weeks, but things might get a little noisy once they do. The crickets will begin chirping a lot, and this is your signal that the females need somewhere to lay their eggs.
You should provide your crickets with a shallow container and fill this with vermiculite and water. You will need to ensure that the crickets can access the container, so making a little ramp for them is a good idea.
This should be left in place for a few days to give them a chance to lay, but you must then remove it so the eggs can be incubated.
For incubation, you will need to cover half of the container with some paper towel as this will collect any condensation, and then you will need to leave the eggs to incubate for around ten days. Providing the right temperature is essential and optimal conditions would be around 30ºc – you can buy a specialist incubator for this purpose.
When the baby crickets hatch, you have two choices – you can feed them directly to your pet or rear them, so they are more extensive.
If you decide to rear them, you must be aware that the living conditions for babies are significantly different from that of adult crickets. Primarily, the babies will need a far more humid environment.
If you want to avoid multiple trips to the pet shop, then raising crickets as food for your snake, spider, lizard, or other cricket-loving pet is much simpler than you may have imagined.
You provided that you give the crickets a good home and plenty of nutritious foods, you will be able to successfully breed them and have a continued supply of fresh live food for your pet.