Too Large Feeder Crix: Can I Free Them?

Critter Mom

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I have been buying feeder crickets at the pet store for my Chinese Firebelly Newts. I have 3 of them, and so I had been buying 30 small crickets at a time and keeping them in a "Kricket Keeper" I bought at the store. The crickets are already gut-loaded, and I continue this at home with the different cricket foods available.

The native species of cricket in Michigan is a black color (unlike the pet store brown ones). I was wondering if I could set free the few crickets I have left over sometimes that mature faster than the others (and are too big for my newts to eat) without it causing ecological problems here if they breed? Would they know how to find their own food and water in the wild on their own? -OR- Has anyone ever tried to sell them back to the pet store once they have started sprouting wings or chirping?

Thank you,
Critter Mom
 

Kaysie

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Bad idea!

If they're too big, you can always remove the back legs and try to feed them. Or offer them up on craigs list or freecycle, or to random people coming out of the pet shop. Someone might be happy to get some free crickets.

You could also try breeding them. I've bred them in sand setups before.

Or you can freeze them to euthanize them. Just don't tell PETA.
 

Critter Mom

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Just out of curiosity:

Why is it a bad idea to set them free?

I don't mind doing the things you suggested, in fact I really appreciate that you took the time to post. I enjoy listening to their song. It's just that their heads and bodies are too big for my newts' mouths. I am afraid breeding may become too messy in a small apartment where pets are not really encouraged anyway. I am afraid of "escapees". I want to be able to clean their "Kricket Kage" before I get more. Maybe the solution is to get a second one and ferry the few I have left back and forth at cleaning time? They'll die sometime. I don't know if that is a solution.

I don't know how many people would trust someone just giving away free crickets outside the pet store... you never know if someone fed them right or poisoned them these days. I hate to just kill them because they got too big.

That leaves me with the same curious question of WHY is it not a good idea to just let them go?

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Kaysie

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It's rarely a good idea to just 'let go' non-native animals. This is where diseases are spread, invasive species take over, and ecological destruction ensues.

That being said, I'm sure there are lots of non-native cricket escapees every year. But why chance it? I don't know about you, but I'd hate to have the weight of that on my chest.
 

Critter Mom

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I would hate to have that too. I understand now:eek:, and so does my husband who was part of the curiousity question I had to post.

I was wondering if that was what you were going to say, but I wanted to know if that was why. I have just read your answer to him. He understands now too, so we are not going to just "let go" the crickets when they get too big.:happy:

Thank you!
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Coastal Groovin

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I believe that House Crickets (acheta domesticus) are native from Europe and Asia. Im not so sure about North America. I do know that they do range in the US from about half way though Texas eastwards to the Atlantic Ocean. http://www.entnemdept.ufl.edu/walker/buzz/487m.htm This is a range map of them in the US. I know they are here already but they probally came over on boats from Europe like rats did. And really shouldn't be released. You don't need to add to their numbers. In 30 years of collecting and searching for bugs and generally anything that crawls I have never seen one outside my house. And the ones that escape in my house are eaten by my cats or left in my sneakers as a present.
 

Kaysie

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Glad to hear it.

So what are you going to do with them? If you're buying that many little crickets, breeding them would probably be a good idea. If you can deal with the sound/smell that is.
 

Critter Mom

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That is a funny map of the reported distribution of the house cricket in the U.S. I live in Southwest Michigan, yet I have never seen one like the kind we get at the pet store outside. The ones outside are all black here. The one I did let out before writing this thread sure looked confused like it wanted back in when I came across it later! I felt bad for it, and guilty for doing it. We thought it was the best thing to do for it at the time. I guess we were not thinking. At least it was just one. One can't breed. That is the last one I am going to let out!

I have bought a second "Kricket Keeper" and intend to just keep cleaning and transferring them back and forth when the small ones are gone. One is being used for the small crickets and one for the large ones. They do make a pretty chirp to me, which is rather nostalgic of my days when I had green anoles (which was from the time I was in early elementary school until college days). If I am not mistaken, the Chinese would keep them as pets to be able to tell if there were intruders because they would stop chirping if someone was in their home that was not supposed to be, and everyone would wake up because the chirping had stopped. I can't have dogs or cats where I live, so "guard crickets" will have to do!:rolleyes: Maybe I will breed them, it just seems kind of messy and smelly for a one bedroom apartment. I don't want to get complaints and escapees.

Thanks for your help!:happy:
 

Critter Mom

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You know what is kind of funny? The remaining 3 adult crickets I have left are all male. The third has yet to complete its wings, so it is not chirping quite yet. Right now, I have 2 adult males who are chirping in stereo so it is like a duelling cricket bar in here!:cool: I guess they are all showing off for each other.:p

The weird thing I have noticed is when they get really mature, they almost turn a black color like our native ones outdoors!:confused:
 
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