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Housing Crickets As Reptile Feed

I know one of the most frustrating things for new Leopard Gecko owners is how the heck to keep crickets alive and keep them from smelling so bad.  I know I went through this, it seemed like at least 1/2 of my crickets died before I ever got to feed them off.  It's the dead crickets that cause most of that nasty smell.  I also quickly got tired of running to the pet store every couple of days to buy a dozen or two crickets at a time.  The biggest mistake is buying one of those little "cricket keepers" they sell at all the pet stores.  Those cricket keepers are expensive for what you get and will only house a small number of crickets at a time.  If you try to house as many as they say they hold, you'll find they die VERY quickly.  For less then the cost of one of these, I'll show you how you can house upwards of 200 crickets at a time, they'll stay alive much longer, and they won't knock you over with the stink.  Give crickets plenty of fresh air, food, a moisture source and hiding spots and you'll be amazed at how easy they can be to keep and how few "die-offs" you'll have.

I use plastic containers that I buy very cheap at funwithlife.org, they are around $3.00 each.  The size I show here is about 13 1/2" long X 9" wide X 10" tall.  This size container will house 200 small crickets or 100 large crickets, just to give you an idea.

You can see in the picture below I have a small dish for cricket food/gut load and a small dish of water gel.  You don't have to use water gel, it's just what I prefer.  You can use wet paper towels in a dish, a wet sponge in a dish (watch for mold), or some people just use fruits & veggies as the moisture source.  I do like to add carrots as an additional moisture and nutritional source.  You can also get an idea of how much egg crate is necessary.  Toilet paper and paper towel rolls can also be used.

Now for getting them plenty of fresh air.  I prefer cutting out a good sized hole in the lid and covering it with aluminum screening.  If you use screening be sure it is "aluminum", I've heard crickets can chew through the plastic screening if they happen to get up to it.  I attach the screening using a glue gun.  The following pictures are pretty self-explanatory as to how I do this.

Now, if using screen is not an option, just be certain to make plenty of holes in the lid.  You can use a drill & drill bit or I've heard of some people using a soldering gun to melt holes.  If you don't have enough ventilation you will have more cricket "die-offs".  I do a "quick" cleaning of these containers once a week and do not have any problems with them smelling bad.  I just remove the dishes and the egg crate (shaking off the crickets first) and simply sweep up any dead crickets and the frass in the bottom.  I use a small size paint brush for this and a tiny dust pan.  Whenever I'm getting low on crickets I do remove everything including the crickets and thoroughly clean the whole container, which is usually about once a month.