Caring for Grey Crickets
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Grey Cricket Factoids

Origin

All come from cricket farms today

Temperature

Room temp fine.  Warmer better. 

Foods

Any grain or cereal -- keep dry

Minimum Needs Slice of potato or carrot

Container

Slick sided, covered container.  

Cleaning 

Clean weekly

LA
Half-inch crickets comprise a major link in the food chain of small lizards.

LA
Makes you hungry just looking at them.

Tasty Food.  Crickets rule as the food of choice for lizards and other insect-eating critters.  Spiders, frogs, toads, salamanders, geckos, hedgehogs, monkeys, birds, and many fishes love live crickets.   


Backyard Crickets.
  Many hobbyists and retailers denigrate our wild field crickets as a food.  They're okay, just hard to catch in quantity.  They swarm around street lights in late August.  Yes, crickets can fly.  However, unlike the greys, field crickets survive a long time in your house when they escape.

LA
Some grey crickets are shipped in boxes.  Others come in bags.

LA
Inside their containers, the crickets enjoy multi-surfaces on pasted egg crates.

 

Commercial Cricketeering.  Some six different companies have built cricket production into a huge industry.  Most of us don’t think of them that way, but vast quantities are sold as bait.  Zoos also truck in numerous crates of these little chirpers. Crickets are not small potatoes (the silent e is optional).

LA
Crickets eat anything you give them.  They even eat the crusts.  Breeder size here.

Minimum Nutrition.  Speaking of small potatoes, a small slice of potato provides an adequate source of food and water for keeping your crickets alive. However, it will not provide maximum nutrition for your critters when they eat your crickets.  Sliced carrots work better, but ...

LA
Crickets love to eat chicken food -- composed of mostly grain.

LA
Cricets gut-loading on carrots -- lots of vitamin A.

LA
Several companies make powdered supplements to "dust" your crickets with.

LA
Mardel even makes a special cricket duster to simplify the process.

Supplements.  To increase their food value, some people “dust” their crickets with a finely powdered vitamin/calcium supplement.  Shake them up in a bag with a pinch of the food supplement.  Do this immediately before you feed them to your lizard.  Like Brylcreme, a little dab'll do ya.  A dab the size of a match head will suffice.  Crickets hate that fine powder and will clean it off in a matter of minutes.  

LA
Not your father's kricket keeper (He could spell).  Excellent product from Lees.  The crickets instinctively crawl up those capped tubes and are easily dispensed.

How to Feed.  Many lizard keepers feed out somewhere between a dozen to four dozen crickets per week.  They buy them, pour the bag into their lizard’s cage, and let their lizard fight it out with the crickets.  Not the best idea.  Crickets can whup up on little lizards.  Crickets eat anything organic including lizards.  They chew thru the cardboard tubes in our breeding containers.  And adult males will bite YOU.  Handle them with care.   Feed your lizards only as many crickets as they will eat in a few minutes.  This also reduces the need for you to clean out dead crickets.

LA
Adult breeders can whup anoles.  The males also "sing" all night.

Cricket Size.  Anoles and little geckos need smaller crickets.  Just because they can choke down a large cricket doesn’t mean they can readily digest it.  That’s why we stock different cricket sizes.  Large male anoles can easily devour large crickets, but the medium size works best.  By the way, only the adult males chirp.  If you want quiet crickets, don't get the big ones.

LA
Paper towel cores keep them apart.  The tubes also make them easier to dispense. 

Housing.  By keeping your crickets in a separate container, you decrease stress on your lizards and provide a more nutritious cricket.  Crickets bite.  And since they can chew thru window screens, we assume their bite can hurt.  Actually, some (not all) of the little chirpers grow very effective mandibles.  They do hurt if they nip you in that sensitive spot between your fingers.

LA
Stupid crickets drown easily.  They cannot get out of your lizard's water container. 

LA
Put a rock in there and they climb out to live until lunch time.

Water.  Provide water in a small dish with a rock or sponge in it.  Otherwise the stupid crickets will drown themselves.  Change it often.  Any regular bowl will drown your crickets fast.  Some cricket keepers use chicken waterers.  The stupid crickets dive in and try to swim to the top.  Whether they make it or not, they still drown.  Use a sponge in these waterers.  Your crickets will sooner or later eat that sponge.

LA
Cricket water "pillows" and "jel" make good water dish alternatives.

LA
Stalk of Romaine lettuce after 15 minutes.  They do like to eat.

LA
Lotsa companies make nutritious cricket foods.

Food.  Feed them a “gut-loading cricket food.”  These special foods contain the extra vitamins and minerals (especially vitamin D3 and calcium) your lizards need.  Slices of potato will give them food and water.  The cricket foods increase their nutritional value.  Change it the instant it gets wet.  When they “internalize“ this extra nutrition, there’s no way the crickets can clean it off their bodies.  Another advantage: Well-fed crickets are less likely to munch on your lizards.  Crickets like to bite. Certain crickets sport excellent mandibles for biting.

Provide Space.  Provide several hiding places in your cricket cage, or your cannibalistic crickets will eat each other.  Rolled up paper tubes make good hiding places.  Cricket shippers use egg crates.  These provide lots of room but make it really hard to catch them.  When you use tubes, you just pour them into a plastic bag or your lizard cage.  The more surfaces you provide, the fewer fights you will see. Shippers send them in paper egg crates.  We often lose several escapees when transferring them from their shipping containers.  Take care.

 

LA Pic 
Use metal window screen.  Crickets chew right thru plastic window screen.

How to Breed.  Provide a deli container full of damp coconut fiber.  A lid of screen wire keeps the flies out.  Fly maggots eat the eggs.  Avoid plastic screen material.  The adults chew thru plastic screens fast.

LA Pic 
Those little white things are genuine cricket eggs.  Many more are below the surface.

Eggs.  Eggs hatch circa two weeks later.  Raising them presents lots of problems.  A mixture of fine-ground grains meets their dietary needs.  Watering pinhead crickets presents the biggest challenge.  If you think regular crickets drown easily, wait until you watch baby crickets try to get out of a water dish.  A combo of moist sponges and very light mistings seems to work.  A heavy mist will drown them.

LA Pic
Little prepacks of 35+ crickets make great counter additions.

LA
Here's pre-packs with 25 to 30 crickets.

LA
Like mini-shipping containers, these have the egg crates plus a food/water source.

Catching.  Catching crickets one at a time by hand, can be a real pain.  Paper tubes enable you to catch your crickets more easily.  Crickets tend to accumulate in the tubes.  Just pull out a tube and shake out the crickets.  We use the core tubes from paper towels because they last longer than paper tubes.  The plastic tubes last forever. 

Nutritional Content

Protein

20.72%

Fat

5.74%

Carbohydrates

3.06%

Fiber

2.8%

Moisture

68.96%


Next to Last Word.
  Feed other foods to your lizards in addition to crickets.  As delicious as crickets are, your critters need a change of pace.  Other commercial live insect options include house flies, mealworms, and wax worms.  For larger lizards, consider goldfish and, of course, pinkie rodents.

LA Pic
Be careful where you use bug killers.

Last Word.  Beware of those mite killers that lizard keepers use.  They will kill any crickets in the same room.  LA

© 2000, © 2003, © 2004, © 2005, © 200 LA Productions.

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