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HUNGRY CRICKET WARNING: Cricket devoured my freshly molted...

Discussion in 'Tarantula Chat' started by tbrandt, Jan 8, 2015.

  1. tbrandt

    tbrandt Arachnosquire

    Blaptica Dubia.

    I know that many are well aware of this, but for new folks and anyone doubting the danger that those cute little chirpers can pose to a freshly molted arthropod should take heed to keep close track of them when feeding them to any pet that may soon molt. Its no joke as many of you know, but I have a new respect having witnessed it with my own eyes.

    Mostly, I feed my T's small Blaptica Dubia roaches. In this case, I had placed a small Dubia (1/4" long) in the enclosure last week. Perhaps the only downside to Dubia roaches as a food for my tarantulas (Idiothele Mira in this case) is that they are incredibly good at ceasing all movement when they sense imminent danger. This seems to render them nearly invisible to the tarantula, to the point that the spider often loses interest and forgets they are there. They seem to be able to hold still FOREVER - longer than the attention span of the hungry T and certainly longer than the attention span of the human keeper watching for a tarantula take down.

    Anyway, I didn't see this one get eaten last week, but later couldn't find it, so I assumed it had been gobbled. This week, I tossed a small cricket (1/3" long) in the enclosure and almost immediately notice that the small Dubia had reappeared, partially buried (presumably self-buried) under substrate in one of the corners. More interesting - it had molted out of its exoskeleton and was bright white. I thought little of it at the time - double meal for my T - cricket now and Dubia later. Nothing to worry about.

    A couple of hours later, I came back to glance at my T enclosures and found that the I.Mira had not yet found the cricket. However, the cricket had certainly found the freshly molted Dubia and apparently thought that it looked as good as vanilla ice cream, because, starting with IT'S FACE, it had consumed well over half of the Dubia, one little bite at a time! All that was left was the back end of a Dubia and a very fat cricket.

    I have heard of gut loading, but this is ridiculous. On second thought - this has given me an idea.

    Has anyone heard of Turducken (Chicken stuffed inside a duck, stuffed inside a turkey)? How about Crickubias - Dubia stuffed inside a cricket? I may need to start a new business selling premium gut loaded food for tarantulas - only the best for my spiders...

    Anyway, I just thought i would share for anyone out there who might be carelessly losing track of crickets they are feeding to their T's. Those little chirpers can really FIND AND EAT anything that is defenseless and soft, and if you have a T that goes into molt while they are around then it could end in injury or tragedy.

    In my case, my tarantula will just be getting an exceptionally rich meal. ;)
  2. bscheidt1020

    bscheidt1020 Arachnoknight

    Crickubias huh? I think Duckets sounds cooler....pronounced doo-kits.
  3. cold blood

    cold blood Moderator Staff Member

    duckets is already street slang for $$ :wink:
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  4. Why was the cricket hungry? Is that just normal (meaning crix are always hungry -- seems like mine always are) or did you mean the cricket really hadn't eaten in a few days?
    I'm trying to determine actual risk here -- is any cricket capable of this in such a short period of time, or did this occur because cricket hadn't been fed anything for days.
    I'd like to think I have a few hours to retrieve a crix before it would start devouring anything in sight!
    My latest fear (unless I have been punked by bad information) is a thousand ants getting into my enclosures and either eating my Ts or my crix. (shudder)
  5. tbrandt

    tbrandt Arachnosquire

    Unfortunately, I don't think I can provide an answer as to "why" the cricket was hungry. The enclosure that the cricket occupied prior to being selected as the next meal for my I.Mira had both food and water available for the cricket to share with its cricket friends. Joking about gut loading aside, I do try to provide a nutritious meal for my tarantulas, which means making sure that their food has access to nutritious food. Whether the cricket had actually eaten, I can't say.

    Regarding timing, the cricket had only been in the tarantulas enclosure for 1.5-2 hours when it was observed snacking on its fellow inmate.

    The lessons that I am taking away are 1) that concerns regarding crickets injuring tarantulas (especially slings) who are in the process of molting or have just molted is completely justified, and 2) that this should be avoided through keepers remaining vigilant to whether their pets are near molting. The signs are usually evident long before the tarantula would be in any kind of vulnerable situation.

    I don't mean to imply that a tarantula is in any danger from a cricket in its enclosure that isn't immediately eaten. Any resident Dubia, however, better look out. Only when the T is going through the spasms of molting and can't get away or defend itself do I think there are cause for concern.

    Maybe other folks with more experience with crickets could speak to their appetites.

    Ants sound like a nightmare - no personal experience with them regarding tarantulas, but one need only to walk through the woods in the summer to see that they descend en masse to devour everything relentlessly, whether its molting or not.
  6. awiec

    awiec Arachnoprince

    I've had crickets gang up and eat other crickets, who weren't even near or in the process of molting. They are relentless little creatures and I only use them for a food staple as several of my animals don't like roaches, as I would much rather just rely on roaches as they are less smelly and cannibalistic.
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  7. jigalojey

    jigalojey Arachnoknight

    Little bugger got one of mine years ago.
    Cricket vs molting sling 2.jpg
  8. awiec

    awiec Arachnoprince

    Probably need to make this a sticky for people who leave crickets in for days, if I suspect a molt I pre-kill until the spider has molted just cause I don't want to wake up to a really fat cricket.
  9. You definitely answered my question! For all I knew, these were LPS crix kept in a bag a few days or something. Your crix are like mine -- should be well fed and watered -- and yikes! I will be aware of this in the future.
    I usually feed roaches if I think a molt might be near. I have had luck sitting a piece of carrot with a single egg carton over it in a corner of the Ts enclosure and recapturing my crickets that way (when Ts refuse them) but don;t know if it would work for a roach too.
    Your story -- man, I may have to add a bad dream to the "T dreams" thread after reading this tonight. lol

    Is it true a mealworm will also eat a molting T?
    What about a beetle (since they burrow and we can't always get those out)?
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2015
  10. Medusa

    Medusa Arachnoknight

    "Has anyone heard of Turducken (Chicken stuffed inside a duck, stuffed inside a turkey)?"

    Turducken is awesome. [emoji4]
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  11. I was just in the other thread talking about cricket/roach retrieval when not eaten. THIS is why I remove them. Sheeesh. Now I really will have some bad dream to post about my Ts.

    ---------- Post added 01-09-2015 at 12:34 AM ----------

    I am not sure how long I've had crickets -- maybe since Spring? Anyway,they are the smaller banded crickets, called (had to look it up) Gryllodes sigillatus. But I am sure the oldest ones should have died off, yet I have never found a dead one in the bin. I am on, I guess (thinking) 4th generation of them. So I am assuming they eat the old? Or the weak? I try putting extra cat food in to prevent the need to eat one another. Anyway, never found a dead one (sans the ones fed to Ts and the occasional loose one the cats get). So -- they are eating the old ones?
  12. cold blood

    cold blood Moderator Staff Member

    Absolutely...even the beetles. This is from a local here that contacted me about his freshly molted female GBB being split open and devoured by these beetles. This person didn't knoe that the worms were beetle larvae.....both the worm have the mouthparts and desire to eat a nice soft t.

    Attached Files:

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  13. tbrandt

    tbrandt Arachnosquire

    Truly horrible! But, thanks for posting this very sobering image.

    This unfortunate fellow doesn't even look like it got around to formally starting the molt. Did the cricket eat while it was on its back but before it started? Thanks.
  14. Hmmm. Well, I lost a mealworm in Rosie's enclosure probably 3 months ago. I have never seen it since (or a pupa or beetle). I don't think she dug it up and ate it. I have yet to see her take a mealworm, so stopped offering them, esp after her threat pose when I removes the last one offered. (I've only offered her 3 ever -- last 2 removed).
    Her substrate is sahara dry, maybe the mealworm starved/desiccated. The again, she (not me) spills a bit of water around water dish. You make me wonder if I should sift through her substrate to find it. 3 months....just figure it died by now. Hate to ruin her ground webbing looking for one so old. But as months go by, she could obviously be getting closer to a molt. I do know I have beetles from that same mealworm bunch that I am breeding (or trying to), so that batch's lifespan hasn't ended. I cannot know for sure something is burrowed down in there alive or not. 3 months, yannoe?
    I swear I look for stuff to worry about. (sigh)
  15. awiec

    awiec Arachnoprince

    I've had a container of 10 crickets before and woke up one morning to find 9, all I could find of number 10 was a antennae. Not trying to scare you but that's the reality of crickets and I prefer to feed them off ASAP. Roaches are so much nicer to each other and I don't have to constantly fish out corpses out of their containers. I offer carrots to my feeders and that seems to reduce the crickets' habit of munching on each other.
  16. cold blood

    cold blood Moderator Staff Member

    They actually require almost no moisture...they will just go dormant in the substrate until a food source shows up, then the beetles come back to the surface to feed.

    That pic I posted was of a GBB, and if you know the species, you know they are kept bone dry as well, as this particular specimen was. That particular person had last fed superworms some 5 months earlier...long enough that he had forgotten until I told him where the beetles came from.

    Always either stay and watch until the worm is eaten, if its not, remove it promptly...or even better, crush the worm's head before you feed...it will still wriggle enough to get the t's attention, and for a while, and then it can't burrow out of sight or even bite the t.

    If you can't locate them, you'll need to change out the sub. Good thing is that with a rosie, you probably have a really long time before it molts and poses an issue.
  17. Galapoheros

    Galapoheros ArachnoGod Old Timer

    I've seen this too with centipedes. When a predatory invert stops eating, crickets learn that they aren't a threat so they learn not to run away from the pred invert, they even start "hanging around" in the same hide. The pred invert seems to get tired of fighting off the cricket, I've even seen them hiding underneath the pred invert or even standing on their backs. I caught one eating on the back of a centipede as it was molting, saved it though and it survived.
  18. I changed Rosie's substrate, cleaned everything thoroughly (except her wood hide which I just brushed off), and put everything back like it was before. I was able to save her whole silk carpet intact and place it over the new substrate. I put her back in and she's just sitting out in the open near her ping pong ball and water bowl per her usual. She's gotta know I cleaned it, she's lost all her silk "guidelines" and poop corner/bolus depot is gone.

    All that took 1/10 of the time that sifting through her old substrate took. I was careful and I'm not itching (shrug).
    I found 1 cricket leg. Period. No mealworm, no pupa, no beetle.

    Thanks for the advice. At least now, whenever Rosie molts again (which could be L O N G time away), I won't worry about something nibbling on her and killing her.

    "This cage is clean" (imagine my best Poltergeist voice)
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