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Thread: Canned Crickets + Woodlice

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    Exclamation Canned Crickets + Woodlice

    Through a series of unfortunate events I've all but run out of live insects and ended up having to buy more from the store. They had nothing that was close to hatching except for some expired black soldier cultures with a little movement (they'd all started pupating.) I spotted some canned crickets and picked them up.

    I removed as much of the hard material as I could from two crickets - no legs, heads, wings, much of the hard part of the thorax was removed - and cut it into pieces about as big as an adult black cricket's head. These were mostly abdomen chunks with some lower thorax mixed in. I then dusted them lightly and dangled these 'cutlets' in front of my frogs, most of whom went for it with surprising enthusiasm. They're green and gold bell frogs, but still pretty young and small, all with heads around the size of or smaller than my thumb (the smallest frog's head is the width of one of my other fingers.)

    The thing is I've just now realized that crickets probably have a lot more chitin than what I usually feed them - fruit flies and blowflies - and although I fed them the softest parts I could (although I think the thorax sections still had some hard material) I'm now concerned if I should continue or not or if what I've done is dangerous. I know they'll eat whole live crickets when they're big/adults, but I wanted to ask if what I've done is/isn't OK or if there's anything I should be mindful of/if I should just stop completely/etc. It's just a supplemental feed until I can get my cultures back up or the wild fly population picks up again, I'm dusting it like any other food, and I don't intend for it to be a staple (except possibly in the short term - waaaaay too expensive.)

    On woodlice: I intend to move my frogs into a bioactive tank when I upgrade them. I want to add woodlice to the new tank (I don't have access to springtail cultures), but I recently fed one woodlouse to my largest frog (due to fly shortage) and he:

    a) either tried to spit it out or had trouble swallowing it (difficult to tell - I saw him open his mouth and sort of lurch with it on his tongue)
    b) spent the next 10 min with it presumably alive inside him, spooked beyond all belief, jumping randomly, not interested in other prey and adjusting his abdomen as if he was uncomfortable or trying to subdue prey.

    He appears to be fine now, although it gave me a heart attack at the time. This makes me think it might not be safe to put woodlice in my tank - what if one of the smaller frogs (who like to hide in the leaf litter during the day) got hold of a big woodlouse and choked or its carapace hurt its stomach? The one I fed my largest frog was the same size as or smaller than the blowflies I've fed him. I know people do use woodlice in vivs and I've read they can be eaten, so are they usually okay to eat and my boy just had a bad time by chance or is there more I should know/should I be careful...? etc.

    If anyone has advice that'd be great ;.;

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    Default Re: Canned Crickets + Woodlice

    I’d be more concerned about the nutritional value of the canned crickets as canned foods in general aren’t as nutrient rich as fresh. But given your situation is good to have something handy. Chitin content depends on the species of cricket and it age as older crickets have more. I don’t think you’re doing anything dangerous per se, but I’d recommend a varied diet of quality live feeders over canned. I don’t know what species you have available but here in the US we have house crickets or banded crickets. Banded crickets allegedly have lower chitin. Dubia roaches are also common here with variable chitin levels depending on size and developmental stage.

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    Default Re: Canned Crickets + Woodlice

    I did read about the nutritional thing - would dusting the pieces offset that at all? I've been using Repashy Calcium Plus to dust all their food (flies/fruit flies for the most part before now.) I'll get them off it as soon as I have a steady supply of live feeders. They're still getting what flies I can give them.
    They're Fluker's canned crickets, so labeled gryllus linnaeus on the tin. Wild NZ crickets are black field crickets.

    I'm not sure I can get dubia roaches here, or at least I can't find them/don't know where to look.

    These are the things I could potentially get ahold of at the moment - do you know anything about any of these?

    - black soldier flies (once the expired cultures hatch/pupate some more - there were a lot more alive in there than I expected. I know these are edible but can't find anything about them in large numbers/fed consistently.)
    - woodlice
    - potentially other leaflitter critters (landhoppers/lawn shrimp, etc. possibly heteronychus arator larvae, all wild)
    - slugs/earthworms, if those are even viable to feed?
    - earwigs
    - cabbage moth/butterfly caterpillar
    - small cockroaches (wild, not dubia, mostly native species)
    - moths

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    Default Re: Canned Crickets + Woodlice

    The black soldier fly larvae should be fine for a while. The adults are small and quick and may be hard for your frog to catch after pupation. The larvae have a high calcium level so supplementing them is not advisable. You can over supplement with calcium and that can cause renal issues. Supplementing the canned crickets is fine. Gryllus Linnaeus is a different species than we have available here in the states. We have the house cricket acheta domestics and the banded cricket gryllodes sygillatus. The genus gryllus encompasses field crickets which are considered more aggressive and have higher chitin levels than the species I mentioned. I’m aware that New Zealand and Australia have different regulations than the US so I understand your feeder choices being limited.
    As far as wood lice, your frog may simply not have cared for them. It’s nothing to panic about but I’d be inclined not to offer them again. I don’t know which species you have there but here they are generally considered harmless and fine as supplemental feeders. They are even high in calcium due to their exoskeletons being composed of it.
    As far as the other feeders you listed I don’t recommend feeding wild caught feeders due to pesticides and parisites. But, and this is a rare exception, if the area is free of pesticides and the frog is wild caught from that same area it would be ok to mimic its natural diet with wild caught feeders. Again this is an exception for wild caught native species. (Technically the green and gold bell is native to Australia but mantains a viable introduced population in New Zealand. The best tip is use discretion. If something seems like a bad idea it probably is. Good luck

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    Default Re: Canned Crickets + Woodlice

    Ps regarding roaches. On the whole most roach species are exceptional feeders. Even pest species (such as the American cockroach and the German cockroach) if maintained in sterile conditions can be fed. I’d avoid caterpillars due to potential toxins. I’ve fed slugs in the past but it’s a messy endevour and the frogs may refuse them.

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