Breeding Crickets for Bearded Dragons
Bearded dragons are beautiful animals that can make great pets. They are exotic, peaceful, friendly, and curious. They are quiet and they don’t need to be walked or taken to a groomer. Just like a cat or dog, however, they require special care to fit their unique needs. One of the biggest concerns people have before buying a beardie, is the cost of feeding it. Although bearded dragons can eat vegetables and plants, they really need live food in order to have a nutrient-balanced diet.
Crickets are one the most popular insects used as live food for bearded dragons. Unfortunately, the cost of buying crickets is exceptionally high over the course of a beardie’s lifetime. A growing young beardie can eat up to 50 small crickets in a day! The good news is that as the lizard ages, he will eat more plant matter and less live food. Even with this reduction, the lizard will still need a considerable amount of live food. You’ll be responsible for providing it with crickets, mealworms, waxworms, locusts, roaches, pinkies, or as much variety as you can afford.
If you own a bearded dragon lizard, or are thinking about getting one, breeding your own feeder crickets can save you lots of money in the long run. After all, your beardie can live over 10 years with proper care and a good diet. 10 years of buying live crickets may or may not strike you as a long time, but one thing is for certain: the money adds up.
You must also be able to feed your pet, even if there is a shortage in the commercial supply of crickets. Not too long ago, the reptile pet industry was in a panic because of a cricket shortage. The major cricket farms experienced severe losses due to the Cricket Paralysis Virus, which only affects one breed of cricket. During this time, people who were dependent on the cricket farms were in a desperate position. They had no way to feed their pets. When you learn to properly breed and raise your own crickets, you are no longer dependent on the major suppliers. You don’t have to worry about how your pet will eat if the farms suffer a shortage. You can have your own unlimited supply of feeder crickets right at home.
Another wonderful benefit of breeding your own crickets is that it puts you in control of their nutritional value. A cricket’s nutritional value directly correlates to its diet. Most of the big cricket farmers feed their crickets a type of corn-based diet, which is not necessarily the healthiest for them. When you breed your own crickets, you choose what you feed them. You can choose to feed them a natural, vitamin-rich diet that will pass on to your reptile. Happy, healthy crickets equate to a happy, healthy bearded dragon.
It is very easy to breed crickets successfully when you follow the right fundamental steps. It is also important that you try to learn as much about crickets as possible beforehand. You’ll have to erase much of your prior thinking toward insects. Crickets possess unique behavioral characteristics and have very particular environmental needs. If you are serious about breeding crickets for your bearded dragon, you’ll want to be sure that you do it right. If you are careless and allow your crickets to become contaminated in any way, your beardie may suffer.