Keeping Crickets as Pets: Benefiting and Entertaining
Crickets: Chirping Friends.
Crickets are not just ordinary insects. Belongs to Gryllidae family which consists of 500 species spread around the world, crickets offer benefits that we sometimes aren't aware.Your kids, your environment as well as your pets can get a lot of positive aspects from them. Being familiar with cricket's life will enable us to take a closer look and find out some attractive sides of their behavior.
Do they benefit kids too? Yes, there are many stories and myths, depicting the lives of cricket originate some countries which can be interesting as bedtime stories. Do they know that In Brazil, the presence of crickets may sign good and bad news, depending on the appearing cricket ? black cricket means illness, but grey cricket means money is coming !. Crickets in Barbados have better fate, they live prosperously because every one wants them alive. According to local believe in this country cricket chirps means incoming money. In Alagoas state (northeast Brazil) crickets live in sharp contrast compared to their relatives in Barbados. Their chirps inside the house are believed to bring death, that makes local people don't want their presence and tried to kill them - Wikipedia: Insect( cricket).
In line with my experience who once lived in eastern Java-Indonesia, kids in this province like to keep crickets to have fun with. They also know how to build a cricket cage, feed them with chirping-stimulant food, and tickle them using flowers of particular grass just to make them chirp. Even though I couldn't agree less on cricket fighting.
Regarding the animal's scientific facts, you may kiddingly ask your children a question: Do you know why crickets don't play cricket ? . the answer is because they have "ears" called tympanic membranes which are located on their front legs, under their knees, instead of on their head. Wow! playing cricket can be risky for crickets.
Second question to your kids : Why don't female crickets like to join a choir ? It is because only male crickets which are able to sing (chirp). Unlike human who use their lips to sing, male crickets "sing" using a pair of their front wings. They position left front wing to a 45 degree then rub it against fore right wing, and the chirping takes place. Male crickets chirp because they want to attract the females and propose them to be their spouses. Since only the males can sing, does it means that male crickets are more special than their opposite gender ?. Not at all. Female crickets also have a specialty that male crickets don't : the females lay eggs using their ovipositor so that their generation continues.
A cricket experiences a life cycle in its whole life. Although a cricket' life cycle isn't as complete as a butterfly's, keeping crickets as pets can also be used as a media for children to observe on an insect's life and its life cycle.
Crickets For Relaxation and Repellent
Many people in my country like to enjoy cricket chirps in the house, they keep crickets in a bamboo cage to get relaxing moments resulted from cricket chirping, they say it's some kind of 'music' that's indispensable.
Other than its benefit for relaxation due to its calming sound above, chirping crickets are also used for repelling mice and rats. In this case crickets offer a safe, natural and environmental friendly way in mouse control. What you need to do is keep some chirping crickets in small cages and locate them at areas where mice are to be got rid of.
Crickets which are kept together in one cage should be given dividers/partitions inside the cage, because crickets can be hostile to each other when they are hungry or when they try to attract female crickets. The partition are not necessarily made in regular position, a clump of dried banana leaves will be enjoyable dividers for them, especially as hiding places for inferior crickets.
One important thing to get attention that ants and geckos are crickets' enemies, to keep cricket cage away from ants and its other enemies you can polish onto around every foot of the cage with some motor oil.
I mentioned above, you can give particular food to stimulate crickets
to chirp. Some chunks of fresh chillies put at some corners inside
their cage are what they need. Remember, those chillies will make them
chirp diligently but on the other hand that also make them hot and
become more aggressive among their peers !, hence you need some techniques to
There are two ways you can do to calm crickets down. First you can spray some water to dried banana leaves where those crickets flock, they will sip the droplets to cool down their body . Secondly, you can give them succulent food like cucumber, fresh corn on the cob, or banana peels . Don't leave the succulent food stays too long (for days) in their cage since the food will be rotten and that's bad for crickets life.
Crickets Benefit Pets.
Keeping crickets also bring benefit to your pets. Because crickets contain a lot of nutrient, they are very good for pets. Dragon fish, insect-eater birds, chicken, reptiles, and some ornamental fish need food which contain complete nutrient. Healthy pets normally sing diligently (for birds), live energetically and have bright feather or attractive body colors. Two or three crickets a day for your pet is enough. Because cricket increases body temperature, too many crickets eaten by your chirping birds may cause losing feather.
Nutrients contained in cricket's body may varies which is closely related to quality of food given to your cricket. It is important to note, particularly if you keep crickets intended for your pets' food supplement. To give proper consumption to your cricket, pellets sold at poultry shop can be a good alternative food.
Differentiating Cricket's Sexes
There are two ways in differentiating cricket's sexes :
1. Male cricket chirps while female cricket doesn't.
2. Female cricket has a needle-like ovipositor (an organ for laying eggs) at the tip
of its rear abdomen, while male cricket doesn't have.
Making Cricket Cage
It's not so hard to make a cricket cage, you can make it from used container around you. Here I give an example of a cage made of a plastic botol. Put the bottle cap on, cut the end (bottom part) of the bottle after that put some dry banana into the cage. The next step is put your crickets into the cage and finally cover it with a piece of plastic, make some holes on the plastic for air circulation. When you need to pick out a cricket, you just open the cap of the bottle/cage off then put it back on when finished. Don't let the cage too crowded with crickets since it will make those crickets interact too much and tend to fight one another. To be able to put the cage in lying position you need a base for the cilindral cage to stay still. You can make that base from a scrap box, cut the lid/cover of the box away then cut both sides to make concaves where you lie the cage ( look at the picture). Another benefit of using plastic bottle is that you can watch your cricket activities inside the cage, not to mention additional benefit in reducing polluting plastic bottles.
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