When we talk about pets, the ones that most often spring to mind are dogs, cats, maybe even fish. Although reptiles are slightly more uncommon as pets, there are those amongst us that do like their lizards and salamanders. The cloudy pool water more commonly tamed ones are tortoises or turtles, frogs and sometimes even spiders. If you have a pet, you have to feed it and the diet for this range of pets is usually constituted of feeder insects like mealworms or Bearded Dragon. They also consume fruit flies and crickets.
Let’s look at the cricket in a little detail. If you’ve seen a grasshopper before, a cricket looks quite similar to it. Predominantly nocturnal creatures, you are most likely to come across them during night time. Live crickets are very commonly used as a feed for most reptile pets. Live crickets also make up the main feed for animals like the hedgehog or a pet hamster. They are also very popular as bait for fishing and can be tied to the end of hook to attract fish in ponds and streams.
If you have had a chance to hear crickets, they are rather noisy and this noise is their mating call. They create this sound by flapping their forewings. Crickets feed on a range of food from fungi to organic matter. They also eat decaying plants and sprouting plants. However, if they are deprived of food for any reason, they also do eat their own dead. It is also not uncommon in certain Asian cultures or parts of Africa for humans to consume crickets as well. It is a relatively unknown but interesting fact that crickets do possess an auditory sensory organ (what we know as the ear) and this is located in their knee.
Fruit flies are another common food for reptiles. Their mating call is also through sound created by vibrating their extended wings. This call is sent by the male of the species. Depending on the temperature of the surroundings, it can take anything from six to sixty days for the fruit fly to eventually develop in to an adult.
Mealworms are the next feeder insect we look at in details. They are the larva form of the mealworm beetle. They typically measure around 2.5 cms. Once the larvae hatch out from their eggs, they go through a stage of eating everything (usually various vegetation) very quickly and grow into a pupa. They then undergo repeated moulting. The pupa is initially a creamy white colour and then changes to an attractive brown. The body is segmented and generally mealworms can be quite attractive to look at. Mealworms play an important role in our eco system for recycling organic matter.