This page has been moved to : Livefood Caresheet
Caring for your Livefood
The primary diet of nearly all exotic pets is livefood. The most popular livefood with most keepers is either Locusts or Crickets, though there are others available like mealworms, waxworms, and fruit fly. In this caresheet, we will go over the basic care for Locusts, but most of this information applies to crickets as well. Remember “you are what you eat” and so healthy livefood means healthy reptiles!
Locusts have a wide geographic distribution and can be found from Northern Africa to India. You’ve probably heard the tales of Biblical swarms of these creatures devastating crops, though you will be pleased to hear that due to the high temperatures Locusts need to thrive, it is unlikely they will breed in your house should they escape!
If you choose to keep your locusts in the tubs they are sold in, then they should stay fresh for about a week feeding off the bran that they are provided with. However, we recommend giving them something else to eat other than the bran, even if it is just a bit of kale. This will keep your livefood fresh for longer, and will also “gut load” them so they will provide more nutrients to your reptile when it is time for them to be fed. However, there are many vegetables which are not suitable for feeding your locusts; mainly vegetables that are very high in water like cucumber and iceberg lettuce. These contain very little nutrition and will make the locusts faeces very messy! To avoid any feeding problems, there are commercially available cricket foods like Beapher’s Cricket Food which comes in convenient cubes that are nutritionally rich for both the locusts and your reptiles.
It is also a good idea to move the locusts into a larger well ventilated container like the small plastic tanks (Faunariums or Geos) you may have seen in the shop. You could also use Lee’s Cricket Keeper which has convenient tubes built in that can be very helpful in transferring the locusts from their container to your pet’s vivarium without them escaping. The improved ventilation will benefit their health and the extra space will let them get more exercise. Place some old egg cartons leaning against the sides of the container to give them something to climb on. If you intend to keep them for a reasonably long time before feeding to your reptiles, then this will also give them space to comfortably shed their skin should they need to, which they prefer to do hanging upside down. Swap the cartons for new ones every couple of weeks.
Locusts prefer temperatures between 25-33 Celsius and will be much healthier if these temperature are provided. A heat mat can help raise the temperature, though an incandescent spot bulb would be more appropriate as it will be able to provide a basking spot at these temperatures. As with all heat sources, we highly recommend a thermostat is used. Do not position the container so that it may be exposed to direct sunlight as this could over heat your locusts.
Locusts will live longer if kept at cooler temperatures since it will slow down their metabolism but being kept too cool may be detrimental to their health. They may not reach adulthood, but they will survive for some time at room temperature and if you plan of feeding them to your reptile within a week, then it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
If they are kept warm, then it is important to provide a source of water (other than vegetables) to prevent dehydration. Locusts can easily drown in a water bowl, and so we recommend using something like Bug Gel, or Spider Water. These are gels which your locusts can access water from, but do not pose any risk of drowning!
By providing good care for your livefood, they will live longer, healthier lives than they will just kept in the tubs and will also be far more nutritional for your pets ensuring they also live long and healthy lives!