Crickets are one of the most popular foods for your reptiles and amphibian pets. They move around really fast and grab your pet’s attention. Crickets are very nutritious and you can provide your pets with as many as they can eat.
Adult crickets grow to around one inch in length. Male crickets are smaller than the females and can be spotted easily in a colony as they are the ones making the noise. You can tell the female crickets by their ovipositor i.e. a long needle like structure which is used to lay eggs.
I have raised crickets a number of times and found out these basic tips that will help you grow your own.
· Crickets need warmth.
· Crickets need food and water.
· Crickets need a place to lay eggs.
First thing you need is a container to store and breed your crickets; this can be a plastic storage container with a snap on lid. Take the lid and cut some 3 to 5 inch square holes out of it and hot glue some screen over the holes, this will provide ventilation for your crickets. Use some ground up corn cobs as a substrate for your habitat and put about an inch of this in your container.
Place your container in a warm area; you may have to provide something to warm them. Crickets like to be at about 85 degrees.
Make your own watering dish this can be as easy as a plastic lid from a peanut butter jar, cut a sponge to fit inside of the lid and soak it with water. You will have to add some water every couple of days.
Crickets need protein to eat, I would feed my crickets cheap dog food, corn meal and oat meal. Your crickets will also need some fruits and vegetables you can chop up some apples, carrots, celery, lettuce, and even potatoes for them to eat. Keep citrus away from your crickets.
Set up some egg laying containers for their habitat, use some foam egg crates not the paper ones; fill a couple egg holes with sand at least 1 inch deep. You need to keep the sand damp but not wet and the female crickets will lay eggs in the sand. Place these in the habitat where you can get to them and keep them damp. Place some other egg cartons in the container for the crickets to hide under and to explore.
Give them a few weeks to deposit their eggs and remember to keep the sand damp. You can move these egg laying areas into a new container and keep them warm and the baby crickets will hatch. Make sure the babies can get some water and food by burying your dishes level with the substrate.
When the babies hatch they will be just a miniature version of the adults. They will shed their skins a couple of times and sometimes you may even see a white one or two and this is normal.
Keep some crickets of different ages in separate containers and you shouldn’t run out of fresh crickets for your pets.