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Thread: alternative to crickets

  1. #1

    Default alternative to crickets

    Hello,

    I am wondering what feeder would be good to feed my toads in addition to crickets and nightcrawlers. my local pet stores have crickets, mealworms/superworms hornworms, butterworms, wax worms, nightcrawlers and red wigglers. Would gutloaded super worms or mealworms be alright to give sparingly? reason I am asking is that My leopard geckos like seem to them




    Thanks

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    100+ Post Member DanDrobates's Avatar
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    Default Re: alternative to crickets

    Crickets really are a great staple. But if you are looking to supplement with other feeders a good choice would be black soldierfly larvae (sold as Phoenix worms). They have a near perfect calcium to phosphorus ratio and are high in nutrients. They are on the whole pretty small though and a bit pricey. Another alternative is dubia roaches. They are available in all sizes and are easy to maintain in a colony. The downside though is that they often play dead or hide and don’t instigate a predatory response the way crickets do. Wax worms are high in fat but can be offered sparingly or to beef up an individual that may need it. I don’t personally feed any worms due to the parasites they often carry. Nor do I recommend them. Super worms are ok but I only offer them to larger species.

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  5. #3

    Default Re: alternative to crickets

    Quote Originally Posted by DanDrobates View Post
    Crickets really are a great staple. But if you are looking to supplement with other feeders a good choice would be black soldierfly larvae (sold as Phoenix worms). They have a near perfect calcium to phosphorus ratio and are high in nutrients. They are on the whole pretty small though and a bit pricey. Another alternative is dubia roaches. They are available in all sizes and are easy to maintain in a colony. The downside though is that they often play dead or hide and don’t instigate a predatory response the way crickets do. Wax worms are high in fat but can be offered sparingly or to beef up an individual that may need it. I don’t personally feed any worms due to the parasites they often carry. Nor do I recommend them. Super worms are ok but I only offer them to larger species.
    I appreciate the reply. I will look into the feeders you posted. Waxworms or supers may work as a side dish as they could be fed to both my amphibians and my pet leopard geckos . I have been alternating my amphibian's diet between nightcrawlers and crickets as I thought that would be natural diet for my them but now I am questioning worms about parasites which (I am unsure how this would be an issue if toads readily consume nightcrawlers and other invertebrates in the wild). I may also look into tomato hornworms or butter worms , do you have any insight on them? any reply is greatly appreciated as I am learning lots from every post I make.

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    100+ Post Member DanDrobates's Avatar
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    Default Re: alternative to crickets

    I know it seems counterintuitive when it comes to worms but I and others on the forum have had negative experiences with them as feeders. In theory it should be fine particularly since they are almost nutritionally complete but in practice I don’t recommend them. Butter worms are not bad but they are pricey. They’re actually considered an invasive species and all butterworns are irradiated before being imported to the US to prevent them from metamorphosing. Hornworms are ok as a treat but they are mostly water. They are good for dehydrated individuals or species such as chameleons that do not drink from bowls. Anything in moderation isn’t bad and they can all be offered for variety but I’d still keep crickets as you’re primary feeder

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  8. #5

    Default Re: alternative to crickets

    Quote Originally Posted by DanDrobates View Post
    I know it seems counterintuitive when it comes to worms but I and others on the forum have had negative experiences with them as feeders. In theory it should be fine particularly since they are almost nutritionally complete but in practice I don’t recommend them. Butter worms are not bad but they are pricey. They’re actually considered an invasive species and all butterworns are irradiated before being imported to the US to prevent them from metamorphosing. Hornworms are ok as a treat but they are mostly water. They are good for dehydrated individuals or species such as chameleons that do not drink from bowls. Anything in moderation isn’t bad and they can all be offered for variety but I’d still keep crickets as you’re primary feeder
    Agreed. crickets are a primary feeder as they are readily available in all pet stores in my area as well as they are easily gut loaded and provide a natural hunting oppertunity for my toads. How could you tell if nightcrawlers have past parasites to amphibians. Once mealworms or supers transform into the brown beetles are they still an option to feed?

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    100+ Post Member Larry Wardog's Avatar
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    Default Re: alternative to crickets

    Quote Originally Posted by DanDrobates View Post
    Crickets really are a great staple. But if you are looking to supplement with other feeders a good choice would be black soldierfly larvae (sold as Phoenix worms). They have a near perfect calcium to phosphorus ratio and are high in nutrients. They are on the whole pretty small though and a bit pricey. Another alternative is dubia roaches. They are available in all sizes and are easy to maintain in a colony. The downside though is that they often play dead or hide and donít instigate a predatory response the way crickets do. Wax worms are high in fat but can be offered sparingly or to beef up an individual that may need it. I donít personally feed any worms due to the parasites they often carry. Nor do I recommend them. Super worms are ok but I only offer them to larger species.
    This is solid advice! Josh's Frogs has good deals on repti worms

    Sent from my BKL-L04 using Tapatalk

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    100+ Post Member Larry Wardog's Avatar
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    Default Re: alternative to crickets

    I keep toads and feeders for a staple can be difficult to find. Toads have their own preference. Here are good staples but keep in mind you would have to breed some of these to breed out any parasites.
    Banded Crickets
    Pet Store Crickets
    Grasshoppers (wild need to breed generations before feeding)
    Earwigs (some captive but would need to be bred too)
    Roaches
    Ants (need to be bred for a while like the others)

    Side feeders
    Waxworms
    Repti Worms
    Butterworms
    Mealworms
    Isopods

    Other feeders to substitute with
    Hornworms
    Silkworms

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  12. #8

    Default Re: alternative to crickets

    all replies are greatly appreciated, I will look into these insects.

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    Default Re: alternative to crickets

    If they're American or Fowler's Toads as are the ones in residence within my compound, they love to eat spiders. Ground-dwelling black or brown wolf and wolf-similar spiders. Another favorite they can be seen stalking every night of three seasons a year are pill bugs. You can probably have your pet supply store get you spiders but I haven't known pill bugs to be sold retail through any source. But pill bugs are easy to find and easy to gather if you have any time to do that sort of thing. I'd also say to give spotted roaches a try. I kept these two kinds of Toads for well over a decade in my grade school years and they did perfectly well on mealworms and whatever I could find for them in the back yard. You won't have any trouble at all getting them to eat many kinds of worms but the various cautions against them in this thread should be taken into consideration as they're commercialy raised and not culled by nature as they would be if gathered outdoors by you. The key is a couple of staples and as much variety in moderation as you can provide for them.

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    100+ Post Member DanDrobates's Avatar
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    Default Re: alternative to crickets

    Quote Originally Posted by KP View Post
    If they're American or Fowler's Toads as are the ones in residence within my compound, they love to eat spiders. Ground-dwelling black or brown wolf and wolf-similar spiders. Another favorite they can be seen stalking every night of three seasons a year are pill bugs. You can probably have your pet supply store get you spiders but I haven't known pill bugs to be sold retail through any source. But pill bugs are easy to find and easy to gather if you have any time to do that sort of thing. I'd also say to give spotted roaches a try. I kept these two kinds of Toads for well over a decade in my grade school years and they did perfectly well on mealworms and whatever I could find for them in the back yard. You won't have any trouble at all getting them to eat many kinds of worms but the various cautions against them in this thread should be taken into consideration as they're commercialy raised and not culled by nature as they would be if gathered outdoors by you. The key is a couple of staples and as much variety in moderation as you can provide for them.
    You can purchase live isopods from online vendors and start your own colonies to feed off of. There are many species available. They are on the expensive side though and most take at least a few months to establish. I would however caution anyone about the risks of collecting and offering wild caught prey due to possible pesticide exposure and the risks of other possible pathogens such as herbicides, chemical fertilizers, etc.

  16. #11

    Default Re: alternative to crickets

    Quote Originally Posted by KP View Post
    If they're American or Fowler's Toads as are the ones in residence within my compound, they love to eat spiders. Ground-dwelling black or brown wolf and wolf-similar spiders. Another favorite they can be seen stalking every night of three seasons a year are pill bugs. You can probably have your pet supply store get you spiders but I haven't known pill bugs to be sold retail through any source. But pill bugs are easy to find and easy to gather if you have any time to do that sort of thing. I'd also say to give spotted roaches a try. I kept these two kinds of Toads for well over a decade in my grade school years and they did perfectly well on mealworms and whatever I could find for them in the back yard. You won't have any trouble at all getting them to eat many kinds of worms but the various cautions against them in this thread should be taken into consideration as they're commercialy raised and not culled by nature as they would be if gathered outdoors by you. The key is a couple of staples and as much variety in moderation as you can provide for them.
    Would spiders or pill bugs that I find in my basement be ok if I throw them in as I find them. If not there is a wildlife sanctuary and nature trail not too far from my house which I know has a large population of wild insects that would obviously be natural food for toads. there are lots of spiders and pillbugs living around my house but my neighbours fertilize and spray their yards with a whole lot of nasty chemicals lol.

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    Default Re: alternative to crickets

    Yes, given your specific situation, the post cautioning you against foraged bugs is right on. I live adjacent to a large acreage wildlife sanctuary and vast acreages of wild woodlands beyond that and nobody near me does anything that would taint the wild insect population. As I stated, I have a compound in my back yard and the Gray Tree Frogs, American and Fowler's Toads, Green Frogs, Wood Frogs, Spring Peepers and the occasional Bullfrog passing through during prolonged periods of rainfall all do extremly well on what's available for prey here.
    Also, gathering them from your basement would depend upon what you have in your basement in the way of chemical agents of ANY kind and if your basement's like mine you wouldn't want your Toads eating bugs from it.
    My situation is ideal in the extreme so I think for most on this forum at least, the commercial sources are the safest path to happy, healthy critters.

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    Default Re: alternative to crickets

    That being said, if you can harvest them from a wild area where you can confirm there are healthy, thriving populations of the same specie of Toad, which info you should be able to acquire from local wildlife management offices or educational institutions if you have one nearby, you should be able to feed your Toads well from the wild as a supplement as I do my Gray Tree Frogs.

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    Default Re: alternative to crickets

    I forgot to mention the Red-Backed Salamanders that inhabit the compound and the area surrounding it. Our land here supports a very healthy array of wildlife which is a solid observation on which to confidently wild source my Gray Tree Frogs 3-season diet together with commercial crickets, spotted roaches and waxworms. Variety will greatly benefit your Toads.

  20. #15

    Default Re: alternative to crickets

    Quote Originally Posted by KP View Post
    I forgot to mention the Red-Backed Salamanders that inhabit the compound and the area surrounding it. Our land here supports a very healthy array of wildlife which is a solid observation on which to confidently wild source my Gray Tree Frogs 3-season diet together with commercial crickets, spotted roaches and waxworms. Variety will greatly benefit your Toads.
    It sounds like a great place for amphibians populations to thrive!

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    100+ Post Member Larry Wardog's Avatar
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    Default Re: alternative to crickets

    I would not feed spiders. They are unnecessary as feeders. Yes they feed on them but the spiders can also harm the toads.

    I would advise against feeding from your basement because the insects can get into stuff that if your toads eat the insects can harm them.

    If you are going to use feeders from outside culture them so that way you have an abundance. You can use grasshoppers, ants and earwigs doing this. Make sure you breed them for generations though so anything would pass from the original wild specimens.

    Isopods can be a staple but not as long as crickets. As Dan said Repti Worms, Waxworms, Butterworms, Crickets, Mealworms, Silkworms, Hornworms are all good feeders to rotate with.

    It's up to you but for keeping captive toads field collecting isn't a good route.

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    Default Re: alternative to crickets

    It is. And I've been doing what I can to encourage it for a long time with great success. You can see photos of it in my albums here on Frog Forum and videos of it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEIu...8f46gZXD7Bq3FD

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    Default Re: alternative to crickets

    Here's a quote from a good article about American Toad husbandry and the link to the full article which should give you some useful guidance: "Toads should not be fussy eaters. Healthy toads are usually actually quite pudgy! If you are housing them correctly within the suggested temperature range, then they will accept crickets, mealworms, waxworms, earthworms or superworms of appropriate size. They usually consume anything that they can fit in their mouth. Gut-loaded crickets can make up the majority of the diet; however, variety is the spice of life, and the more you can vary a toad’s diet, the better off it will be. During warm months, catching local insects (nontoxic, of course) can provide added variety. Moths seem to be particularly relished by most toads. In the wild, they eat grubs, spiders, worms, insects, slugs, snails and other invertebrates. If your toads are wild-caught, try offering them what they eat in the wild."

    Link: http://www.reptilesmagazine.com/Frog...ding-And-Care/


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    100+ Post Member Larry Wardog's Avatar
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    Default Re: alternative to crickets

    Quote Originally Posted by KP View Post
    Here's a quote from a good article about American Toad husbandry and the link to the full article which should give you some useful guidance: "Toads should not be fussy eaters. Healthy toads are usually actually quite pudgy! If you are housing them correctly within the suggested temperature range, then they will accept crickets, mealworms, waxworms, earthworms or superworms of appropriate size. They usually consume anything that they can fit in their mouth. Gut-loaded crickets can make up the majority of the diet; however, variety is the spice of life, and the more you can vary a toadís diet, the better off it will be. During warm months, catching local insects (nontoxic, of course) can provide added variety. Moths seem to be particularly relished by most toads. In the wild, they eat grubs, spiders, worms, insects, slugs, snails and other invertebrates. If your toads are wild-caught, try offering them what they eat in the wild."

    Link: http://www.reptilesmagazine.com/Frog...ding-And-Care/

    I do not understand what you mean by it is?

    Anyways yes reptiles magazine wrote that but that's the person's preference for keeping them. Wild insects can bring parasites and shorten lifespans for frogs and toads. The benefit of using captive feeders is no parasites.

    As I said before I do not suggest using wild caught as a staple it's risky and unnecessary with how much variety is on the market for these animals. There is no real need to use wild caught. I will culture wild caught with the hopes of making them captive feeders at some point like grasshoppers but even they are unnecessary. I say this to bring caution to the person asking the question. Dan and myself have been on here for a long time and have seen many sick toads and offered help so you read where we stand. If you choose to use wild caught it's up to you. I wish you luck with whatever you decide.

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    Default Re: alternative to crickets

    The "It is." was in reply to Trout Hunter saying this in reply to one of my responses: "It sounds like a great place for amphibians populations to thrive!".

    With regard to experience, I've got over 50 years of studying Reptiles and Amphibians academically, long-term observation and husbandry of mostly American and Fowler's Toads but also Turtles, Tortoises, Newts, Salamanders, Anoles, one Spectacled Cayman and more recently, for the past 10 years, Gray Tree Frogs (H.versicolor and H.chrysoscelis). Never had any problem with diseases, parasites, or the prey doing harm to the Toads. Their robust health and long lives were due to them having conditions and diet as close to what they would experience in the wild as can be simulated in a closed, artificial habitat minus drastic weather changes and predators and the stress they experience from living under the threat of predation.

    The only individuals (Gray Tree Frogs) I now have in captivity are mal-formed and ones of otherwise diminished survivability. The perfectly functional ones will do their kind and the environment, and by extension the human population the most good by being encouraged to propagate and expand their communities which I do with my compound, and left to be wild and occupy their ecological niche in the immediate and surrounding acreage.

    When I began practicing Toad husbandry as a child, I started by feeding them mealworms almost exclusively as that was the only feeder insect available at that time in my local pet store. They started to lose interest in them after some time so I began to use a wide variety of wild-harvested insects and spiders all small enough to be food for Toads their size of course. I never hand-fed them and they had to stalk their prey so after ten years I let them go in the same acreage where I now have my compound and kept a record of their survival thereafter. They lived another 3 to 5 years depending on which one was being documented and after that I didn't see them around.

    Diseases and parasites among Reptile/Amphibian populations has everything to do with environmental stressors of human origin which weaken the animals resistence to all such problems, destruction of habitat, and the tragic increase in commercial trade in baby or juvenile individuals, not feeding them a variety of wild-harvested prey.

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