Many of our animals here at the museum eat live crickets. The bearded dragons, turtles, salamanders, and toads have crickets as part of their staple diet, and the alligators, trout, aviary birds, farmyard poultry, and opossums get crickets as enrichment treats. A local cricket farm delivers about 1500 crickets (I have no idea how they count them!) every other week, and we care for them until it’s time to be food for one of our other animals.
The crickets live in egg carton and paper towel tube apartments inside our warm cricket house. (Their room always sounds like an evening on the front porch!) They get thin slices of fruit and vegetable daily, and some dry milk mixed in with layena crumbles (layena is the grain our chickens and turkey eat). As the old saying goes, “you are what you eat”, so the healthier the diet the crickets get, the more nutritious they are to our animals that eat them.
Our delivery man told me our cricket box was the cleanest he’s seen, so I’m pretty proud that we take good care of all our animals large and tiny, even the ones destined for a beardy’s stomach.