Have you seen one cricket cannibalizing another? Why Do Crickets Eat Each Other?
Are they desperate and hungry? Is it something to do with the environment or climate?
In this article, we will dive deep into cricket cannibalism and find out why crickets eat each other.
Why Do Crickets Eat Each Other?
Tight breeding spaces make crickets compete for enough room to comfortably live, breed and eat. The tighter the space, the more likely that humidity will increase. Both factors can lead to crickets eating each other.
Other issues have to do with a competition for food or a lack of available nutrients. Weakened or young crickets are also targets for healthy adults looking to remain physically strong.
A lack of space and separating the adults from the babies, nymphs and juveniles with plenty of food options helps prevent crickets from eating each other.
Do Crickets Eat Other Dead Crickets?
Yes. Crickets can quickly turn on each other when the conditions are not suitable, such as a cramped space or rising humidity. Also, if a cricket sees an injured or weakened counterpart, it may turn into a scavenger, cannibal and opportunistic feeder.
It is important for the group to remain strong. A weaker cricket slows down the rest and offers enough nutrition for any other cricket to take advantage.
A lack of space allows crickets the opportunity to feast on each other. Finally, if there are not enough nutrients available, the last resort is to respond with cannibalistic tendencies.
Do Crickets Cannibalize?
Yes. Crickets are more than willing to eat almost anything you are offering them. They know when to stop loading up on food and will not overeat.
If you are underfeeding your crickets, they may cannibalize and turn on each other. Crickets are also seen eating decaying or rotting animal flesh.
Desperate crickets will eat each other. They will pick on the weakest or youngest members of their group. Injured crickets are an easy target to be cannibalized.
Will Crickets Eat Themselves?
The insect world and animal kingdom can be a cruel and unusual place where opportunistic feeders may resort to cannibalism.
This is true in the case of crickets who turn on each other in certain times to treat a weaker members on their party as their next meal. The situation must call for it due to the following factors:
- lack of space
- limited nutrition available
- too many nymphs (juveniles)
- rising humidity
- injured or dying crickets near healthy crickets
- during molting when their new exoskeleton is soft
- nuptial feeding (female eating male after mating)
Do Crickets Eat Their Mates?
This doesn’t happen all the time, but it may occur when a female eats the male’s body immediately following mating. This is referred to as nuptial feeding.
A female cricket can take on many characteristics depending in the situation and the particular species she belongs to.
She may eat parts of the male’s body or substances the male produces. She may also eat the prey the male has captured. The female reserves the right to do as she pleases because she rules over the males who only exist to mate.
Do Crickets Eat Their Babies?
Unfortunately, yes. If you keep a large group of crickets and allow the right conditions for them to breed, you will need to separate the adults from the young.
Adult crickets will eat their babies if the opportunity presents itself. Crickets eat smaller insects and this may include their own young.
Baby crickets should be separated at first, but they can be placed back into the main habitat once they’ll undergone several molts where they have shed their skin. This should take about 2-4 weeks.
Are My Crickets Overcrowded?
If you are seeing crickets feasting on the carcass of another cricket in the habitat you are keeping them in, you have a situation involving cannibalism due to overcrowding.
Most likely, you are trying to feed your crickets formulated cricket food or human food that can range from scraps, grains, fruits and vegetables. The problem is not a lack of food. It may be due to the tight space and their increasing population.
They may turn on each other to free up some space. This type of cannibalism is out of convenience and the need for more room.
You should create a larger space and even consider offering hiding spaces such as cardboard rolls of toilet paper or get creative with other items.
Are My Crickets Each Ether Because They Are Hungry?
It could be an obvious assumption that your crickets are eating each other because they are hungry, but there might be more to it that that. Let’s start with food and water.
Make sure to keep the supply of fruits, veggies, grains and even meat scraps coming because your crickets will not gorge themselves to eat. They know when to stop eating and will not overdo it. They will get plenty of hydration from the liquids found in fruits.
A lack of nutrients will cause crickets to turn on each other. If you are gut loading crickets to feed to your reptile, make sure these little insects are getting plenty of fats, proteins vitamins and even sprinkle some calcium powder on them from time to time.
Prevent them from eating each other by separating the young, weak or dying crickets. Add more space and keep the food supply well stocked.
Two Overlooked Reasons Why Crickets Eat Each Other
Your crickets are receiving enough food and they are breeding. The population is growing and there is enough room. Then, why are they still eating each other?
Here are two overlooked reasons why crickets resort to cannibalism under your care:
- Unclean environment
The habitat must be clean enough for crickets to breed and coexist. Cleaning up the area is essential to their overall health.
An unclean space could allow for more crickets to weaken or die. This in turn, creates more opportunities for other crickets to prey on the weak.
Crickets need air circulation to be comfortable. Humidity is known to be a reason why erratic behaviors exist and cannibalism can ensue.
Crickets would prefer dry environments. Too much moisture will frustrate them. A dehumidifier in the room can help or simply ventilate the habitat with more air pockets
Keep the humidity under 75%. You can monitor this with a cheap humidity meter.
Are Female Crickets More Likely To Be Cannibals?
In some studies, it has been observed that cricket populations flow together in one direction when they are on the move. If there are outliers that flow in opposite or perpendicular directions, they may become targets to be eaten.
Females are more likely to eat other crickets. They are initiators and instigators of such attacks. They can join 8 or more other females and surround a potential victim.
Surrounding one cricket increases the likelihood that it will be eaten. Crickets that stop moving instead of flowing with their group are likely to be eaten as well. They are presumed to be weak and vulnerable.
Tips To Prevent Cricket Cannibalism
We would like to propose a set up and a few procedures for you to help reduce cannibalism and continue to have a thriving cricket population.
Here are a few tips:
- Keep your cricket bin, container or terrarium warm and dry.
- Use a lamp with wattage at or between 75-150W.
- Keep temperatures between 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Increase ventilation and air circulation with air vents.
- Mist or spray laying and hatching containers that are either separate habitats or secluded chambers.
- Keep the nursery chamber in the coolest area.
- Crickets eat pellets and dry pet food. Chicken feed works well and stays dry.
- Supplement with fish food pellets and fruits for hydration.
- Use paper towel and toilet paper tubes for hiding spaces.
- Separate older crickets from the youngest who are still molting.
Crickets will enjoy the efforts you make to provide them with a healthy habitat that discourages cannibalistic behaviors. They do not seek out other crickets as their first or only option for nutrition.
Crickets can coexist peacefully, but it’s up to you to provide enough room and separate spaces for the young, the babies and adults to have their own areas.
Clean up the spaces to make sure that bacteria or fungus doesn’t cause some crickets to fall victim to disease and become weaker. A dying or weakened cricket becomes a target for other crickets to resort to cannibalism.
They aren’t only trying to eat each other because they are hungry. They might be trying to free up some space in a small or overcrowded environment. The humidity or lack of air circulation can also make it uncomfortable for crickets who may resort to eating each other out of erratic reactions to this discomfort.
Your crickets will continue to live and thrive under dry, spacious, well stocked and well maintained habitats that you create and manage.
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