The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care.
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When taking care of most lizards, you are going to want to keep a steady supply of feeding insects ready.
Naturally, different lizards are going to want to have different insects, and it is important to keep a rotation of food for your lizards so that they have different food to eat, but one of the most common foods that people will opt to give their lizards will be crickets.
Crickets are relatively nutritious, easy to gut-load, and generally easy to care for as well. However, if you plan on keeping fresh feeder crickets in the house, one thing that you will quickly notice is that crickets can be incredibly loud.
Just about everyone is familiar with the sound of crickets chirping on a warm summer evening. The cricket chirp is iconic, but when you have to listen to tens and tens of crickets chirping the night away inside your own house, the noise can get old and infuriating incredibly fast.
It is important to feed your lizards fresh food, so you will want to keep your crickets alive and well-fed, but there are thankfully ways that you can keep them quiet. The first step to keeping your feeder crickets quiet is to first have a good understanding of why they make noise, when they make noise, and how they manage to do it.
Once you know more about how crickets make their noises, you will have a better sense of how you can go about stopping crickets from making as much noise.
One thing to keep in mind though is that there will be some degree of noise with your crickets, always, as they are not quiet creatures and this is simply something you will have to deal with as a part of owning crickets.
Understanding Cricket Chirping and Why it Happens
Arguably the most memorable aspect of crickets is their chirp. The cricket’s chirp comes from the way that crickets rub their wings together and is generally done by males to attract females to the area.
When you have many crickets enclosed together in an area, they are all going to try and attract mates together, competing for their prize, which is often why captive crickets can seem considerably louder than the crickets you hear outside.
As with many other animals, different species of crickets produce different tones and volumes, and this is something to consider when looking into finding a feeder cricket for your pet.
Cricket chirping is highly influenced by the temperature outside, which is why summer is the most common time people hear crickets chirping.
The general understanding is that the warmer it is in the cricket habitat, the faster and louder the chirping is going to be as the temperatures approach the cricket’s optimal environment.
Crickets are also far more likely to chirp at night. This is because of the volume of their chirping, as it is easily loud enough to attract predators to the cricket’s location.
As a natural adaptation to this fact, most crickets are inclined to chirp at night, where there is far less risk of a predator coming out to attack the cricket. Crickets are also naturally nocturnal animals, so they would chirp at the times when they are the most alert and active to try and coax a mate.
With this being said, there may not be much you can do to dissuade the cricket’s desire to chirp to attract a mate, as this is simply a natural behavior for crickets. There are, however, things that you can do to trick the cricket into believing it is not an optimal time for it to try and search for a mate, given the natural factors that make a cricket want to chirp in the first place.
Convincing Crickets Not to Chirp
There are several different ways that you can influence your crickets not to chirp as much as they do, or for them to chirp at a different time of the day so that they can get it out of their systems at a time that is less intrusive for you.
You will not want to do anything that may impact the cricket’s health in the long-term though, as this may mean that your lizard would be eating a sick cricket, which is not the solution to this problem.
There are a couple areas that you can tackle to get your crickets to be quiet. You could opt to mess with the lighting of their enclosure to trick them into chirping during the day when you might be at work, rather than throughout the whole night, or you may alter the temperature of their enclosure so that they won’t chirp quite as loudly.
You may even want to combine these tactics so that the crickets believe that it is not the right season to try and find a mate, leading to significantly decreased chirping.
You can also change their enclosure, move it around the house, and add some soundproofing so that the chirping only affects a small portion of the house, rather than the whole place.
One of the most recommended solutions is to place a blanket over the enclosure of the crickets in the morning to convince them that the day is night, inducing them to chirp at a time you might not be home.
Then, during the evening hours, you will want to remove the blanket from the enclosure and place some lighting around it, influencing the crickets to believe that it is day, keeping them quiet when you want to sleep.
This is absolutely the safest way to keep your crickets from chirping during the night, but if you work from home, it may not be the best solution as you will still be plagued with cricket chirping all throughout the day.
If this is the case, another solution that you can try is to alter the heating of the cricket enclosure to be a temperature too cold for crickets to want to try and chirp at.
Colder temperatures, typically below about 75 degrees Fahrenheit, reach the point where crickets become lethargic.
A lethargic cricket is not one that is going to have the energy to try and chirp to call a mate, meaning that at worst, you will have fewer and quieter chirps coming from the enclosure and at best, the crickets will be almost completely silent.
You will want to be careful with this method though, as if you make the cricket enclosure too cold, you may cause the crickets to stop eating. This will mean that you cannot gut-load the crickets to make them more nutritious for your lizards, which defeats the purpose of keeping crickets in your house in the first place.
Depending on the cricket species you have, you may have to practice some trial and error with the temperature so that you can find a range where crickets will chirp less, but they are not so lethargic that they cannot eat the food you are offering them to make them more nutritious for your lizard.
With a combination of altering the temperature and adjusting the lighting of the cricket enclosure, you will be able to find a way to keep crickets quiet during the night so that you can sleep peacefully and your lizard can still have its nutritious, gut-loaded meal.