How do you take care of grasshopper babies?
Kavon from New York, NY
Keeping pet orthoptera is fairly easy, but depending on the species, there are minor adjustments that ought to be made.
Katydids are very friendly, but timid, and very fragile. Those legs break off very easily, so don't grab them if you want to catch them. Hold out your hand and let them come to you. Most species will nibble on your fingers.
Crickets are the easiest to acquire en masse, just go to the pet store and buy them. I never bothered with keeping them as pets because they never sit still.
Caelifera, which include a large variety of grasshoppers and locusts, is the superfamily that separates these creatures from the rest of the order Orthoptera.
Differential grasshoppers are the friendliest, they will easily sit on your hand once you tame them (which is itself pretty easy).
Carolina grasshoppers, which are the brown grasshoppers with black wings and a yellow stripe around the rim, are the hardest to catch. Catch them when they are nymphs if you want one of these as a pet.
Most grasshoppers live for about 8 or 9 months. The longest I've kept a single grasshopper was until mid February, which I caught around November and was probably born around April, 10 months.
However, southern grasshoppers probably live longer. I've read something about how Eastern Lubber grasshoppers can live for several years.
Don't keep grasshoppers or katydids in tight spaces. They need their space. A 1 gallon bug container will be fine for a single differential grasshopper, but if you want to keep many of them, upgrade to 2.5, 5 or 10 gallon. The trade off is that it takes more work and patience to clean the substrate.
The substrate is the stuff at the bottom of the cage. Bagged potting soil would work very well and never needs to be cleaned. Seeding this with grass seed and watering it, possibly putting the soil itself on a mesh that allows some draining, will provide a good and constant source of food. Misting will allow the grasshoppers to drink, but they also get their water from the food they eat, so water the food. So far, none of the stuff in the cage came from the outside.
Other food includes salad greens (Spring greens from the grocery store are the best). If done right, (and one of these days I hope to accomplish this), the grasshopper may live twice its natural life span.
Feeding them grass from the outside, using dirt from the outside as a substrate and so on is easier to do, but the grasshoppers will not live as long because you will also introduce mold, diseases, and parasites not to mention the possibility of predatory insects and spiders hiding in the dirt.
Grasshoppers raised in store-bought potting soil with store bought grass seed in a controlled environment will not be quarantined from every disease. There is still the issue of obtaining grasshoppers from the outside, which is the best way (and also is pretty much free). I have no advice on what to do with a sick grasshopper. Taking it to a vet will probably earn you ridicule, although I've been working with grasshoppers for a while.
I have none. I have not figured out how to prevent the eggs from dying. Honestly, the best way is to make sure you have no pregnant grasshoppers in your cage.
When they are adults, find all the males with a bulbous end on their abdomen and smaller than the females. They also have longer antennae and bigger paws, and let them go. Any pregnant females should be let go, too. The rest you can keep for a longer period of time. The pregnant females will lay their eggs outside in their natural environment, which will then hatch and provide more baby grasshoppers for next year.
While I'm not fully certain about this, pregnancy may reduce the lifespan of a grasshopper. Male grasshoppers will not live very long after mating. They have achieved the one goal of their lives, procreation so they don't need to live anymore. If all the grasshoppers in your cage are of a single gender, there probably won't be any problems.
Lastly, a couple years ago I captured a large number of the biggest grasshoppers I could find. They were all pregnant. They laid eggs in the cage, all the eggs died. The following year, I hardly found any grasshoppers. Just now the population is beginning to rebound. Don't do what I did, let the grasshoppers be wild and if you get them as a pet, just take a couple and take them as large nymphs (because the smaller ones will probably escape through the air holes). (01/17/2009)
By Joseph T.
I have 2 pet grasshoppers at the moment (Harbitt and Marlon), I keep them in my old hermit crab tank. I have newspaper on the bottom and they like to eat lettuce and tomato. I love them. (02/11/2009)
My boyfriend and I had gone down to Everglades National Park over this summer, on the ride out of the park one day I kept seeing things on the roads. Finally we stopped to see what they were. It turned out to be one of the coolest grasshoppers Id seen, the Southern Lubber.
I picked up 1 and brought her back to NJ with me, where I kept her in a 5 gallon terrarium with moist topsoil. She ate constantly and almost as often had her abdomen in the dirt laying eggs.
Just today about 5 months later (poor mommy died about a month ago) I have a good 40 babies climbing around on the lamp above the tank that now houses a baby box turtle.
All I did was not disturb the substrate, deeper than a thin layer of the surface, and I kept it fairly moist. Never sopping wet with just a 60 watt bulb over top.
These little guys look great, I also found a few more groups of pupae looking things in the ground so I'm anticipating more little ones.
I have no idea what to do with them all. I guess I'll need to make a trip down south to let em go. (01/21/2010)
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