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Mazuri High Calcium Cricket Diet and Other Foods for Feeder Crickets

Hello, Frank Indiviglio here.  My professional experience with captive reptiles, amphibians and other creatures extends back over 4 decades, with much of that time being spent at the Bronx Zoo. For the past 24 years, I’ve relied heavily upon Mazuri animal diets, as have many of my zoologist colleagues worldwide. From turtles to elephants and hamsters to cassowaries, Mazuri formulates more carefully-researched foods than does any other company. I recently had occasion to experiment with and read about Mazuri’s High Calcium Cricket Diet, and am quite pleased with the results. In the following article, I’ll also highlight some other useful products for crickets and similar feeder insects.

Crickets feeding

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Sean Wallace

The Calcium: Phosphorus Ratio

In order to maintain optimum health and normal growth, the foods offered to reptiles and amphibians should (depending upon the species) contain calcium and phosphorus in a ratio of 1:1, 1.5:1 or 2:1. Crickets and many other feeder insects in their natural (“un-supplemented”) state have a calcium: phosphorus ratio of only 0.3:1.

Zookeepers and hobbyists have long coated crickets with high-quality powdered calcium and vitamin/mineral supplements in an effort to improve their nutritional value.  This remains a useful practice, but the results delivered are somewhat unreliable.  Widely-varying amounts of calcium powder stick to individual insects, and some of the supplement coating is lost as crickets groom themselves and move about. It is, therefore, very difficult to ascertain how much calcium an animal ingests when it consumes a powdered cricket.

In the late 1980’s, some animal keepers began to focus on offering calcium-enriched diets to crickets as a means of raising calcium levels.  A study reported in the Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine (20{1} 26-33) found that crickets consuming a diet containing 8% calcium achieved a calcium: phosphorus ratio of 1:1 within 48 hours.  Radiography and spectrophotometry allowed researchers to determine calcium levels with a great deal of accuracy.  With a calcium content 8-9%, Mazuri’s High Calcium Cricket Diet meets the study’s criteria.

For more on this topic, please see this 2011 study (Zoo Biology) that documented increased carotenoid (antioxidant) levels in crickets consuming tropical fish flakes, fruits and vegetables.

Male House Cricket

Uploaded to Wikipedia Commons by Hexasoft

Using Mazuri High Calcium Cricket Diet

Domestic Crickets (the common feeder species, Acheta domestic) accept Mazuri High Calcium Cricket Diet straight out of the box.  I mix in some tropical fish flakes  in order to draw their attention and add additional nutrients.  I also offered this product (mixed with tropical fish flakes) to hissing roaches, earthworms, sow bugs, field crickets and earwigs, and was pleased to see that each consumed it with gusto.

Other Cricket Diets and Water Sources

t235281House Crickets require a water source, but unlike many related species, they do not thrive in damp surroundings.  Gel-based cricket water sources, some of which are enriched with calcium, keep the enclosure dry and prevent crickets from drowning, as they often do, in water bowls (please see this article, and those linked below, for further information).

Several other leaders in the pet nutrition field have also formulated cricket diets. Products worth investigating include

Fluker’s Orange Cube and Zilla’s Gutload Cricket Food.

Please check out my posts on Twitter and Facebook. Each day, I highlight breaking research, conservation news and interesting stories concerning just about every type of animal imaginable. I look forward to hearing about your interests and experiences as well, and will use them in articles when possible.

 

Please also post your questions and comments below…I’ll be sure to respond quickly. 

Thanks, until next time,

Frank Indiviglio

Further Reading

Caring for Live Foods: Commercial and Wild-Caught Invertebrates

Gel-Based Water Sources for Crickets

Cricket Diets and Supplements

2 comments

  1. avatar

    Mazuri is the only food that I feed my crickets. You should know what you are feeding your crickets and this is high quality food

  2. avatar

    Thanks for the feedback, Will; much appreciated, Best, Frank

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About Frank Indiviglio

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Being born with a deep interest in animals might seem unfortunate for a native Bronxite , but my family encouraged my interest and the menagerie that sprung from it. Jobs with pet stores and importers had me caring for a fantastic assortment of reptiles and amphibians. After a detour as a lawyer, I was hired as a Bronx Zoo animal keeper and was soon caring for gharials, goliath frogs, king cobras and everything in-between. Research has taken me in pursuit of anacondas, Orinoco crocodiles and other animals in locales ranging from Venezuela’s llanos to Tortuguero’s beaches. Now, after 20+ years with the Bronx Zoo, I am a consultant for several zoos and museums. I have spent time in Japan, and often exchange ideas with zoologists there. I have written books on salamanders, geckos and other “herps”, discussed reptile-keeping on television and presented papers at conferences. A Master’s Degree in biology has led to teaching opportunities. My work puts me in contact with thousands of hobbyists keeping an array of pets. Without fail, I have learned much from them and hope, dear readers, that you will be generous in sharing your thoughts on this blog and web site. For a complete biography of my experience click here.
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