Have you ever considered having a chirping cricket as a house pet? Here are some facts and tips for creating a happy atmosphere for a pet cricket in your home.
- A field cricket is shiny black, with brown wings. Despite Disney’s Jiminy Cricket, there is no such thing as a green cricket.
- A fully-grown male is less than an inch long, while the female cricket is about 50 percent longer.
- Only male crickets can sing.
- In many countries, crickets are eaten as a fried snack. Recently, cricket “flour” has been gaining in popularity, too; it’s a gluten-free, high-protein alternative to wheat flour.
- Crickets, unlike grasshoppers, are short and stubby, and tend not to jump, except in desperation.
- 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.
- 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?)
- 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
- A medium sized pickle jar with small holes punched in the lid makes a wonderful cricket home. A fishbowl or terrarium covered with wire mesh can also do the trick.
- Add sand or clean soil and leaves to the bottom of the jar. A piece of bark can also create a comfortable atmosphere for your cricket.
- The best place to catch a cricket is inside your house. In the fall, crickets come inside, attracted by the warmth.
- Once you catch your cricket, wrap him loosely in a handkerchief and transfer him into his jar. A newly caught cricket will make a desperate attempt to escape, so a glass enclosed shower stall would be ideal for the transfer.
- The cricket will need food and water every day.
- For water, 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.
- Crickets will eat almost anything including cornflakes, oats, granola, birdseed, lettuce, or other raw vegetables.
- Clean the jar every two to three days.
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!