Crickets often serve as food themselves and are typically fed to reptiles and amphibians. But what do crickets eat? Let’s investigate.
Often, people mix up crickets and grasshoppers because of their similar appearance. Although nearly physically indistinguishable – but they are actually two very distinct animals. Unlike grasshoppers, male crickets chirp at twilight by stroking their wings together mainly to attract female crickets for mating.
Crickets, also known as Acheta domesticus, are small, flying, cylindrical insects that belong to the order Orthoptera. Locusts and grasshoppers are also members of this order. By the way, crickets are omnivores and need a proper, healthy diet to thrive. Crickets are big eaters and have a big appetite. In contrast to grasshoppers that feed on grass meals and inferior insects alone, crickets can eat various foods.
In this guide, we will deep-dive into crickets’ feeding habits and answer a question you probably have in mind – what do crickets eat? Stick around as we expose you to several kinds of foods crickets eat, depending on the habitat where they dwell.
Let’s dive into their menu!
What Do Crickets Eat in the Forest?
Crickets usually live in the tropics., although you can find them in every nook and cranny on earth except Antarctica. In tropical forests, crickets can feed on almost anything they’re able to get their hands on (or mouthparts, technically). There are about 2400 species of crickets worldwide, and there are slight variations in the kind of foods each species eats.
A cricket’s diet varies depending on the season and type of environment they inhabit. Some crickets are herbivorous, while some are carnivorous. In the forest, herbivorous crickets feed mainly on fruits, flowers, shoots of young plants, seeds, and grasses. On the other hand, carnivorous crickets feed on tiny insects, eggs of invertebrates, larvae and pupae of small animals.
Regarding the tiny insects they feed on, crickets usually go for Aphids, meaning sap-sucking insects. Scavenging crickets also exist in the wild. They eat dead organic matter, carrions, decaying seedlings, and fungi – in other words, almost anything they find around them.
What Do Crickets Enjoy Eating?
What crickets enjoy eating depends the feeding nature of their particular species. Naturally, herbivorous crickets prefer anything plant-like. Meanwhile, carnivorous crickets’ favorite snacks pertain to small animals and insects. However, some omnivorous crickets combine both qualities and feed on both plants and animal matter. Crickets who are scavengers have the widest range in their diet as they will eat essentially anything they come across. Domesticated crickets don’t choose what’s on the menu as they are fed by the humans looking after them.
As you can see, there is not a particular set of foods peculiar to crickets, as they exist in diverse environments. However, you’ll always find certain foods on the menu of most crickets. We’ve compiled some of these foods in a list below:
- Insects (e.g., Aphids)
- Young shoots
- Dry dog food
- Dry cat food
- Decaying plant or animal matter, and many more.
What Do Domestic Crickets Eat?
Crickets are no boring, highly-nutritious insects. Owing to this, some people keep crickets as pets. Likewise, some people keep crickets for the purpose of feeding them to their other pets, such as snakes or toads. Usually, domestic crickets are a bit different from wild crickets, and they come across very different foods from wild crickets.
However, if you keep a pet cricket, you must place it on a healthy diet in order for it to thrive and to ensure its welfare. Although crickets raised in captivity are ready to eat almost anything that comes their way to survive, you still need to make sure you are feeding them the right things to fulfill their nutritional needs.
You can serve your herbivorous crickets fresh greens and fruits like bananas, oranges, apples, etc. Alternatively, you can give tiny insects like ladybugs and aphids to your carnivorous crickets. Ensure you don’t give them foods that are completely different from what they usually eat.
What Are Baby Crickets’ Favorite Foods?
Baby crickets usually have a more voracious appetite than adult crickets. Baby crickets are called nymphs—which is the juvenile and intermediate stage in the life cycle of crickets. Fertile eggs laid by adult crickets form into nymphs with time. Nymphs molt for about six weeks before they emerge as adult crickets.
Nymphs can feed on anything they find, ranging from dead matter and small insects to plant materials. They are big eaters since they need lots of energy to move on to their next developmental stage. Baby crickets feed primarily on grains, fruits, seeds, grasses, flowers, etc. Due to the sizeable plants-eating capacity of crickets, farmers consider them pests.
How Crickets Hunt for Food
Crickets have sharp eyesight and can easily detect sound, smell, and touch. They use their sense organs to locate and find foods quickly, and their compound eyes focus on many images simultaneously. Crickets possess a pair of antennae that they use to detect pheromones and food odors.
More importantly, these animals use the tympana in their legs to detect any vibration or sound around them. Crickets have modified mouthparts which they use in conjunction with their primitive taste buds to feed. Depending on their environment, they hunt for food using different tactics. Herbivorous crickets are foragers and graze mainly on plant parts such as leaves, flowers, fruits, etc.
Predator crickets leap onto their prey insects using their strong legs. After subduing their prey, they use their powerful jaws to bite and consume them. Scavenging crickets rely on their sense of smell to detect the odor of dead plants or animals.
How to Feed Pet Crickets
You can breed crickets at home for entertainment purposes or to feed them to your reptile pet. However, just like a hungry man is an angry one, you can’t derive the playfulness you crave from crickets if you don’t feed them well.
It would be best if you observed specific tips when feeding pet crickets. We’ve helped you with some of these tips below:
- Ensure an adequate supply of food and clean water for your crickets.
- Don’t measure the amounts of food to serve crickets; they can regulate their food intake.
- Check on your pet crickets often, roughly every two days, to ensure they still have enough water and food with them.
- Always put their foods in shallow dishes, be they greens, grains, or fruits.
Crickets feed on plants, animals, and almost anything they find, making it challenging to determine foods specific to their diet. However, some common foods appear in all crickets’ diets. This guide spotlights the said foods and explains how crickets obtain their food. Crickets are fun animals to keep if you feed them well, so we’ve also featured how to feed your pet crickets.
Thank you for reading this article! Now you know what foods are on the cricket’s menu, but do you know What Moths Eat?