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Old 09-25-2012, 09:39 AM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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How in the hell do you keep crickets for a gecko without them getting loose or chirping all night?

Maybe this is a stupid question, but I honestly don't know.

My daughter wants a leopard gecko, which means *I* am getting a leopard gecko. So, fine, I'll get a gecko.

I have been studying obsessively on how to care for leopard geckos. I'm already planning how and when to acquire the setup for the vivarium. I have a shopping list. What I don't understand is this; the primary diet of a leopard gecko is crickets. You have to keep some crickets around to feed the gecko, and you've got to feed the damned crickets, too (a practice called gutloading; basically, you're making sure the crickets carry good nutrients to the lizard.)

But there are twoquestions I see answered nowhere:

1. If I have a little container of goddamned crickets in my house, aren't they going to CHIRP? Crickets chirp, right? You can hear them from a mile away. Wouldn't that drive me insane?

2. Crickets jump. Won't they come hauling ass out of the container every time I go to put one in the tank for Gordon the Gecko? How do you feed them without them leaping for freedom and infesting your house with goddamned crickets?

There may be obvious answers to these questions. Well, I need them.
Old 09-25-2012, 09:43 AM
Anaamika Anaamika is offline
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Location: Upstate NY
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I don't. I feed him mealworms and as a treat, waxworms. Crickets ALWAYS escape.
Old 09-25-2012, 09:45 AM
johnpost johnpost is offline
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put the cricket container in the fridge for a bit before extracting one, they won't be jumpy.

put the cricket box in something like a polystyrene cooler to dampen sound.

Old 09-25-2012, 09:48 AM
Skammer Skammer is offline
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I used to buy a half dozen crickets at a time and put them right in with my lizard; so I wasn't keeping or feeding them for any length of time. Once inside the tank, it seemed like they were smart enough not to chirp next to a hungry reptile.
Old 09-25-2012, 09:48 AM
KneadToKnow KneadToKnow is offline
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Originally Posted by johnpost View Post
Winner: "Disclaimer of the Day" award.
Old 09-25-2012, 10:05 AM
TruCelt TruCelt is offline
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You get to know the local petshops that have a good gutloading program. Pick one close to your regular drycleaners if possible. then you stop by once a week, pick up some lizrd food and drop it in the tank when you get home. Contrary to popular belief, he won't eat himself sick. He'll eat what he needs and hunt the others later.

The rest of the week, meal worms and maybe a wax worm or two as a treat. Too many wax worms will constipate him. You can dust the crickets or meal worms with special vitamin powders as well.

When he gets big enough, the real fun begins when you add the weekly pinky to his diet.
Old 09-25-2012, 10:06 AM
scr4 scr4 is online now
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I was under the impression that crickets sold as pet food were not fully grown and wouldn't chirp. Am I wrong?
Old 09-25-2012, 10:55 AM
CannyDan CannyDan is offline
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Location: East coast of Florida
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RickJay, crickets also climb. Climbing out of their box is a more constant problem than jumping when you disturb them (by removing some for lizard food). But maintaining a small group (up to a hundred or two, not thousands) is relatively simple and allows you to purchase in bulk and have feed available on a daily basis.

I'll suggest a smooth sided plastic box, maybe a foot or so in each of the three dimensions, with a snap on lid. Suitable blow molded variations on this theme are available at nominal cost at your local home repair warehouse store or big box retailer. Larger is fine depending on your space available; it's important that it be at least a foot tall to reduce that jumping problem. Climbing can be eliminated by simply 'treating' the inner walls with Rain-X, a product intended for auto windshields. Rub on the liquid and it will make the plastic walls too slick for crickets to climb. Drill a bunch of 1/8 inch holes in the lid, or melt them using a nail held in pliers on the stove burner until it's cherry red (assuming you don't have a propane or oxy-acetylene torch handy) to provide ventilation.

Crickets need water, but will drown in a water bowl. Use a small, flat dish or jar lid into which you place a layer of common marbles. This gives the crickets a place to stand while they drink.

In addition to "gut load" feed, you can maintain your crickets on a diet of dry dog chow. Just scatter a few pieces in the container, and replace as needed.

Crickets need and want shelter, so put a couple of empty cardboard egg cartons in the container as cricket housing. Also put in a couple of small cardboard tubes, as from toilet tissue. At lizard feeding time just pick up a tube and shake the crickets inside into the lizard's cage. Much easier than chasing down individual crickets by hand.

Oh, secure the lid and the entire box with a stretch cord and/or a weight so the cat doesn't dump the whole thing while playing chase-the-crickets some time in the wee hours. Just sayin', YMMV

As for the chirping sound, well, you'll just have to cultivate serenity.
Old 09-25-2012, 11:01 AM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is offline
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That Rain-X idea sounds ingenious.
Old 09-25-2012, 11:07 AM
cher3 cher3 is offline
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We have 4 small frogs and toads and one great big fat one, so I have many years of cricket-keeping experience. If possible, stick with the small-sized crickets and you shouldn't have a problem with chirping. If he has to have medium or larger sized ones, just get a few at time.

Most pet stores also sell cricket keepers that have removable tubes to help you get a few out of the box at a time for feeding. The crickets crawl up into the tubes to hide and then you just slide the tube out of the box when you need some crickets.
Old 09-25-2012, 11:07 AM
CannyDan CannyDan is offline
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Originally Posted by purplehorseshoe View Post
That Rain-X idea sounds ingenious.
Back in the dark ages when plastic boxes weren't so common and cricket cages were made of wood, we'd glue Formica strips around the walls then wax them with paste wax. Progress marches on!
Old 09-25-2012, 11:14 AM
Joey P Joey P is online now
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I used to buy crickets by the thousand for my dragons. I kept them in a 10 gallon aquarium with a mesh top. I probably had 2-3 a week get loose. After a while you get pretty good at catching them. If you trust the lizard, you can let it loose after the stray crickets.

Also, I did keep something on top to cut down on the noise and smell.(Then kept the whole thing in a closet) I believe it was a bed sheet or bath towel or something folded a bunch of times to be the same size as the top.

Last edited by Joey P; 09-25-2012 at 11:14 AM.
Old 09-25-2012, 01:32 PM
Soylent Juicy Soylent Juicy is offline
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I had a leopard gecko for 13 years. You get used to the cricket-chirping and eventually tune it out.

And when your 13 year old gecko passes on you actually *miss* the sound of crickets.
Old 09-25-2012, 02:16 PM
dracoi dracoi is offline
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I briefly had a chameleon that needed crickets. We kept them in the garage where we couldn't hear them chirp. (Or at least, not loud enough to keep us up at night.)

Don't count on them not chirping, even when next to a hungry reptile. The chance for sex outweighs the chance of death, even in crickets.

As for catching them... someone mentioned the egg carton trick. We used similar things, including toilet paper tubes. If you pick up the whole carton/tube, most of the crickets double-down on the hiding rather than choosing to jump. Other than that, just pick an enclosure that is tall enough to prevent them from jumping out. A few will occasionally escape, but that's the other reason you put them in the garage.
Old 09-25-2012, 04:47 PM
thelurkinghorror thelurkinghorror is online now
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Re: climbing. Get a cat.
Old 09-25-2012, 05:45 PM
Sahirrnee Sahirrnee is offline
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When my son had his two little snakes I'd go to the pet store about once a week and buy a dozen crickets. I'd just dump the whole bag into the aquarium. I never heard them chirp and I think any that got loose didn't last long.
Old 09-25-2012, 09:13 PM
The Surb The Surb is offline
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If you get a young gecko, make sure you feed it calcium. Dust the food (shake it in a bag) with a little calcium and a reptile vitamin, do not rely on gut-loading alone.

Find a vet that handles exotics before you get an exotic pet.

I have had geckos for about 12 years now. I've never had waxworms (bee moths) constipate a gecko. They do tend to poop in the same area of their cage so it's not too difficult to keep an eye it.

Crickets in the garage is also a good idea although I used the basement.
Old 09-26-2012, 12:13 AM
dontbesojumpy dontbesojumpy is offline
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Posts: 1,065
tear their stupid wings off?

i had a sand gecko because my (at the time) terrible girlfriend thought it would be a fantastic present to gift me a heap of smelly responsibility.

i noticed the crickets never chirped when i first got them, but as they aged (if i bought a large group that didn't get eaten very fast) they would grow their wings and get chirpy.

it drove me so crazy i would pull their wings off with tweezers.


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