We love our pets, and bearded dragons are no exception. And as owners, this means we’re willing to go the extra mile to accommodate their needs. And some of those needs include housing exotic live feeder insects such as superworms, dubai roaches, and the most popular, crickets.
Crickets are inexpensive and abundant. Owners can purchase them online, or they can buy them from local pet stores. And most importantly, they are beneficial for our dragons. One cricket has about 3 times the amount of protein as fat, which makes them a nice, lean source of food.
But as a live feeder, crickets will require their own care, so that you’re offering your beloved pet the an excellent source of nutrition. A new owner might think that a large population of crickets and a bearded dragon can live in harmony in the same habitat. But crickets can actually attack and bite your pet. These small bites can cause lacerations, which can lead to infection. So it’s important to provide a separate, healthy habitat for your feeder crickets.
But if you can’t house your cricket supply with the bearded dragons, where should we put the crickets?
Great question. Learning about cricket habitats wasn’t a common school subject. And if you’re trying to house an order of 500, 1000, or more, then it’s understandable that you may be scratching your head with how to store so many crickets.
But the process is simple, and requires very few and inexpensive resources.
- 5 gallon bucket (or buckets depending on the amount of crickets)
- Orange slices
- Whole grain bread
- Paper towel tubes or empty egg crates
Now let’s pretend you just received a batch of 500 crickets in the mail. No matter who you ordered them from, they’re all going to packaged the same. After a 2-3 days transit, some crickets will be very jumpy, trying to escape. Or they can appear very lethargic, as the transit dehydrates them. So what you’ll want to do is carefully open the package so you don’t shock the crickets.
After the package has been opened, you’ll want to carefully empty your order of 500 crickets into the 5 gallon bucket. Look out for crickets that didn’t survive the transit. Because you’ll want to remove them from the habitat. If you ordered more than 500, have an additional 5 gallon bucket for each 500 lot of crickets.
Watering your crickets
As already mentioned, the crickets will be very dehydrated from the transit. So it’s important to offer them water right away. There are a few ways to hydrate them. Some people like to use water feeders for baby chicks. This is an ok way to offer water to crickets. However, there are chances the crickets could drown in the dish. A better method are to use water pillows (basically sponges), or offer them some juicy fruit, like watermelon or orange slices. The juice from the fruit will hydrate the crickets, and also provide them with valuable nutrients that can help gutload them before offering them to the almighty beardie.
If using fruit as your water source, it might be beneficial to offer the fruit to the crickets before introducing them to their bucket. Depending on how much time you have in between receiving the package, and setting up their habitat, it could prove critical for the crickets.
Feeding your crickets
You are what you eat. And when feeding crickets to your beloved bearded dragon, it’s important to make sure that your crickets are eating healthy too. And some of the best foods to feed them is whole grain bread.
Whole grain bread is full of hearty fiber. And fiber will greatly benefit your bearded dragon’s digestion, especially when dealing with cricket chitin.
Additionally, the oranges and watermelon being used for hydration will also provide valuable, got-loading nutrients. But the whole grain bread will offer the carbs the crickets are looking for to maximize their health and longevity.
Giving your crickets a place to hide
When the sole purpose of your existence is to be nothing but a food source, then it’s critical that you have plenty of hiding places. And crickets love hiding. So in addition to hydration and food supplements, you’ll want to offer them a few hiding places.
Brown cardboard egg crates are the most popular. They are cheap and easy to find online. Alternatively, you can also use empty toilet paper rolls, or paper towel rolls. Crickets can climb inside of these tubes for hiding. And these tubes also act as convenience tools to transport crickets from their habitat to your bearded dragon’s.
No lid for your cricket home
Your instincts are telling you to place a lid on the bucket. But one thing that will greatly help the crickets is constant air flow. So it’s actually recommended to keep the bucket open. In case this doesn’t sit easy with you, you can line the lip of the bucket with clear packaging tape. That will help prevent the crickets from jumping out of the bucket. But even if the plastic doesn’t feel like enough, a screen will always be a suitable alternative.
Overall, crickets can be a viable source of protein and nutrients for your beloved bearded dragon. And buying them in bulk online is a great way to save money in the long run. However, it’s important to house your crickets in a separate container, and knowing how to prepare that container will increase the amount of healthy crickets you have to offer for your bearded dragon.