Cricket Facts and Keeping Pet Crickets

All About Crickets

July 11, 2019
Cricket
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Crickets are fascinating and keeping crickets will teach you a lot about them. They are perfect for children who love insects since they don’t bite. Here are some fun cricket facts—and tips for creating a happy atmosphere for a pet cricket in the home or classroom. 

Cricket Facts

  • Crickets, unlike grasshoppers, are short and stubby, and tend not to jump. 
  • A fully-grown male is less than an inch long, while the female cricket is about 50 percent longer.
  • Insects have a head, thorax and abdomen and six legs.
  • Crickets shed their exoskeleton when they need to grow.
  • Only male crickets can sing. They don’t use their mouth or legs to make the noise but their wings. To sing, male crickets lift their wing casings at a 45 degree angle and rub them together.
  • Crickets can sing and eat at the same time. (Can you?)
  • Females have an ovipositor (the long stick-like body part at the end of her abdomen); males have two wings and no ovipositor
  • The males chirp to find a mate.
  • Female crickets lay their eggs in the fall. When they hatch in May or early June there are thousands of tiny black crickets, but by July they are bigger and large enough to start singing.
  • The females lay their eggs in damp dirt by pushing their ovipositor into the dirt. They can lay up to approx. 10 eggs a day.
  • Like all insects, crickets are cold-blooded. They sing faster or slower depending on the temperature.

Did you know? To convert cricket chirps to degrees Fahrenheit, count the number of chirps in 14 seconds and then add 40 to get the temperature.

Example: 30 chirps + 40 = 70° F

Find out more about using cricket chirps to predict temperature.

Cricket Farms

  • In many countries, crickets are eaten! They are farmed and consumed as a high-protein, low-fat snack, boiled in rolling water and sautéed with some salt and olive oil.
  • Recently, cricket “flour” has been gaining in popularity, too; it’s an expensive, gluten-free, high-protein alternative to wheat flour.
  • Yep, those backyard critters have 16 to 21 grams of protein per 100 grams of cricket. An entomologist with the Audubon Nature Institute says, “Crickets provide more than enough protein to fuel the rest of your day. And they contain a good, but not excessive, amount of fat and carbohydrate.”
  • They’re an eco-friendly super food that has more protein density per bite than beef and is chock-full of vitamins and minerals! 
  • Note: Crickets are are farmed are not bought from pet shops; store-bought crickets are not meant for human consumption based on their artificial feed.

Keeping a Pet Cricket

  • A fishbowl or terrarium covered with wire mesh is ideal. Or any glass or plastic enclosure is fine as long as there is proper ventilation (so the insects can breathe) with good air flow.
  • Add moist dirt or sand and leaves to the bottom of the jar. A piece of bark can also create a comfortable atmosphere for your cricket. Toilets rolls also allow them to hide.
  • Because they’ll need a constant source of water, provide a water tray that’s shallow enough that they can’t drown. You could use the lid of a plastic medicine jar. It can be put in with tweezers or a bacon turner. You can fill the water dish by drawing water through a straw.
  • Add a food container; a bottle cap is fine. Crickets need clean food every day. They like most everything, especially raw vegetables such as cucumber as well as grains including granola and oats. They will also need a little protein (tofu, chicken, or even a dog biscuit) or they will start eating each other. You can also buy specifically made cricket food from pet shops. They also like fish food.
  • Avoid all pesticides which will kill your cricket. Using insecticides around the home can kill your crickets, too. Put them outside if you’re spraying chemicals.
  • The best place to catch a cricket is inside your house. In the fall, crickets come inside, attracted by the warmth. You can also buy crickets at a pet shop (they are food for lizards and frogs). 
  • Once you catch your cricket, wrap him loosely in a handkerchief and transfer him into his jar. We might do this in a glass enclosed shower stall.
  • Crickets don’t like extreme colds or heats. They prefer a regular temperature of about 86 degrees. 
  • Clean their home every few days. Always remove any dead crickets. Make sure the food doesn’t have any mold on it. 

The sad part is, a cricket’s life is very short. Typically, if you catch one in good condition in August or September, he should last till about Thanksgiving. When the time comes, bring the jar outside, say your goodbyes, wash and clean it out, and put it away for next fall.

Do you know any cricket facts? Or have you ever kept a cricket as a pet? Let us know in the comments!

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Reader Comments

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Didn't hear any Crickets

Recently returned from an off-grid cottage in Val Des Monts, Quebec. At night, it was completely silent. I did not hear any crickets chirping or cicada bugs buzzing. The weather was very hot during the day (29-31 deg C), cooler at night (15-17 deg C). I found this really strange as I have never experienced this type of quietness before. I just assumed crickets chirping and the cicada bugs were everywhere......

I've actually kept crickets

I've actually kept crickets (as well as other insects) several times. If you can get a small terrarium with a live plant they do even better. It's not too expensive either. A small travel one from your local pet store is fine, and it gives them more room to play, and seems to help them live a longer. Just be careful with a set up that has dirt that any snacks you give don't mold, it can over take the terrarium and the cricket

crickets

That’s a great point (about the mold). We’ll add it above. 

Cricket fact

They love the plants that are made for GloFish or fish in general. For crickets to chirp you need males and females. They LOVE egg cartons

Pet Cricket

For me, I don’t believe in encouraging taking animals from their natural habitat and keeping them as pets. It would be nice to just try and watch them in their natural habitat....

83 days and counting

Our boys (5 & 3.5) found a cricket before bed at the beginning of October and named her “Grassy.” It’s now New Years Eve and she’s still growing and happy. We change her mason jar every 2-3 days, give her fresh water and go out in the snow to find new sticks and old plants from the garden as well as throw some veggies in. Our 3 year old brought her to school with him every day until it got too cold to do so. We figured she’d die within a couple weeks or a month, but she’s still going strong at 83 days. Tomorrow is a new year!

crickets chirping and early winter prediction ??

I have been told in the past that excessive and louder then usual cricket chirping in the summer, indicates a long, hard and early winter. do you know if that is true? we have lived in this house for years, and I do not remember ever having heard the volume and amount of chirping that we had this summer, even with the windows closed. no, I would not keep one as a pet, they are a useful member of the wild society that resides outside, and should remain as such.

cricket chirps

The Editors's picture

Unfortunately, we could not find lore or scientific findings that linked cricket chirping with upcoming winter weather. We did find weather lore that says “When crickets chirp unusually, wet is expected.” Scientists have found that with some species, the faster the chirps, the warmer the current temperature. But there is also the fact that crickets do experience population outbreaks in some years when conditions are right, such as fewer predators, more food and shelter available, and/or favorable weather (warm temperatures, humidity, rain). Perhaps your area experienced conditions this year that favored cricket growth.

crickets

In my neck of the woods (NE Brasil),
crickets are held in high esteem: they
are seen/heard as a sign of hope ...
but keep them as a "pet"? No, nay, never.
It wouldn't chirp any more - only lament
... lament its lost freedom ... like all caged birds.

Cricket freedom;

Crickets have intrigued people for centuries; prob. because of their "chirping and singing"; crickets seem to "have a melody"; my comment is: instead of gong outside to "catch a cricket"; got to any pet store (Petco has Crickets); buy a cricket and rescue the Cricket; otherwise the Cricket might be used for "Lizards and Turtles"; the crickets are large and small and cost about 50c each; you can buy tiny crayfish too; :):);

pet crickets

I've heard at one time in Asia crickets were prized as pets and watch dogs too.
They were kept in little cages made of split bamboo.
Where many dogs are like door bells and bark to let you know someone is near - a happy cricket can chirp all the time but will stop when someone or something comes near.
I have always loved their chirping and have caught a few but refuse to cage anything.
And my wife has always refused to let me keep one.
Confucius said, "Happy wife~happy life!"

Interesting comment:

Interesting comment about "Cricket watchdogs"; I notice this also; Birds; Squirrels and others will "stop when they hear a distant sound": some animals stand on their hind legs to get a better look at; Bears do this a lot; they are not "attacking"; merely looking to "see who is there";

I have captured many crickets

I have captured many crickets before, but I thought when I caught them they where all grasshoppers. Until my mom said its a cricket. So I've been keeping them In a empty water bottle. And when I took em out there legs where gone.? I'm confused where they fighting? Where they not in good condition because I treated them like grasshoppers. I put leaves in there? Are they like there cousin the grasshopper. Or do they eat differently?

Grasshoppers eat plant

Grasshoppers eat plant materials (herbivorous). Depending on the cricket species, they might be carnivorous (preying on other insects etc.), herbivorous, or omnivorous (eating both animal and plant substances). Some are scavengers.

Even if they are not normally carnivorous, some crickets prey upon each other if there is not enough food of the right kind--that could be what happened with yours. To provide protein, which many of them like, you can get commercial cricket food at a pet store, or provide them with dry dog or cat food. Also give them a mix of vegetable scraps (bits of lettuce, carrot, potato, etc.), and fruit such as apple slices. Avoid overcrowding--they must be able to move about easily. Make sure that the water bottle is large enough, and that it has adequate ventilation. They must have water as well--such as via a damp sponge. Keep in a dry, warm area (70-80F), and clean their habitat regularly. Remove any crickets that have died as soon as possible. Good luck!

What about chinese

What about chinese crickets?

do they live longer? i just got some crickets, but i was wondering if there are any crickets that live a year or two

Most crickets could live for

Most crickets could live for a year or more with the right conditions, however, they usually can't survive more than one winter.

cockroaches

I think there are kinds of cockroaches that live for long periods of time

Amazing..cricket chirps is a

Amazing..cricket chirps is a nature's thermometer but how exactly to clean up the jar without the cricket escaping?

good question

good question

Put them in a temp area

When I clean my cricket's enclosure, i usually coax him into a water bottle, bag, etc. Then, once I clean his terrinium, I put him back inside. Just make sure you transfer your cricket to and from the habitat carefully, and if you need to, transfer in an enclosed area.

Cricket homes

Wouldn't it be easier on you and the cricket to have a second terrarium setup to move to on cleaning day? That way only one transfer per cleaning.