Exotic Pets

Crickets Vs. Mealworms: Other Things to Consider

Photo courtesy of Jessica Lucia

We’ve done several articles recently on The Tyed-Dyed Iguana blog regarding feeder insects and which ones are the most convenient to keep around the house for your lizard, frog, or toad. Here’s what we’ve covered so far:

How to Care for Feeder Crickets

Are Crickets the Best Food for Insectivores?

How to Feed and Keep Mealworms

How to Feed and Keep Dubia Roaches

You Can Feed Your Insectivore Lots of Things

This article goes over a few more interesting facts you might want to know when deciding whether to feed your insectivore crickets or mealworms (or both!).

Crickets are hemimetabolous

A hemimetabolous insect is one in which the baby insects look pretty much the same as the adults, only smaller. Crickets are like this, and it can be a convenient feature, especially if you have multiple reptiles or amphibians that eat insects.

Adult and juvenile crickets

Photo courtesy of Clint’s Reptiles

Because the crickets can be fed to your pet at any size and any stage of their life cycle, you can individualize the meal size to the appropriate pet. This is different from some other feeder insects like mealworms, which eventually pupate into beetles and cannot be fed to an insectivore.

You may want to feed the male crickets first

Male crickets tend to be louder than female crickets. They’re the ones making all the racket when you bring a batch of crickets home. If, like many insectivore keepers, you don’t particularly like the sound of a room full of crickets, you can feed the male crickets to your animals first to reduce the noise.

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Female cricket ovipositor

Photo courtesy of Clint’s Reptiles

Fortunately, crickets are easy to tell apart by sex. Female crickets have a long, dark rod that extends from the back of their abdomen. This rod is the ovipositor that they use for laying eggs. Male crickets do not have an ovipositor.

Crickets are easy to find and remove

If you put live insects into your lizard, frog, or toad’s enclosure, some of them can bury into the ground and hide. If this happens, you may not even know they are in the terrarium with your pet. This doesn’t happen with crickets. They may hide briefly, but they’ll start jumping around again and can be removed with tongs.

Crickets can be finicky about care

You do have to make sure you feed and water crickets regularly (but not with a water dish where they can drown). Basically, crickets die easily, and you’re going to be scooping a lot of dead crickets out of the container of live ones.

Mealworms are the least expensive feeder

Crickets are probably the most widely available feeder insect, but mealworms are the least expensive, and here’s why. Once you buy one container of mealworms, you never have to buy more of them again. They breed without any work on your part.


Photo courtesy of Clint’s Reptiles

All you have to do is put mealworms in a container of grain meal with a small amount of moist vegetable (like potato or carrot). They will pupate into beetles. The beetles will lay eggs. Then you will have more mealworms.

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With almost no work on your part, you have infinite mealworms.

You probably don’t want to feed mealworms exclusively

Although mealworms can be nutritious for insectivores and easy to keep for reptile and amphibian keepers, they shouldn’t be the sole food for your exotic pet. Mealworms have a high ratio of chitin to internal goo.

Chitin cannot be digested easily by insectivores, and that means mealworms end up being a lot of roughage.

If you have more questions about feeding insectivores, ask the team at The Tye-Dyed Iguana in Fairview Heights.

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