Google Something Clever 2.0: So Now I'm Raising Crickets.

Jul 10, 2014

So Now I'm Raising Crickets.

Remember Reboot? You may recall him from this post about the untimely demise of my son's first tadpole, Croakley (what a prophetic name, am I right?). This is what he looked like back then:

Eagle-eyed readers may have spotted his cameo in this post where I make fun of Gwenyth Paltrow. Here he is, in case you missed him:

That's right, he's a frog now! It actually happened very quickly. He had stumpy little back legs when we took him home. Maybe you can make them out in that first picture. They sort of retracted into his body when he wasn't using them. His tail started getting shorter after a few weeks. Then, one day, I came home and he had a right arm. Just the right. Ew. But the next day, the left arm showed up! (Yes, I'm aware they're not actually arms; shut up.) I guess they fully form in the body before just popping out.

At this point, according to the internet, Reboot was still not a frog. He was a Tadpole With Legs. Okay.

His tail continued to shrink as his body became more slender and froggish. Once he had only a little stump of a tail, he became...

Still not a frog. A froglet. Yeah. At that point, we had a froglet.

But close enough, right? I figured I should stop feeding him fish food, now that he was totally not a fish at all anymore. Not that he'd ever been a fish, but he sure looked like one, and that's what the nice man at the pet store told me to feed him. But now? It was time for his frog mitzvah, and that meant feeding him crickets.

I went to a pet store and asked for cricket information. I bought a bag of about a dozen small crickets. Yes, I said "small." Crickets come in two sizes. Luckily, Smalls don't chirp. Bonus! Oh, and I also bought him a floating dock and a tank scrubber and a fishnet and a gravel vacuum, because it had been at least two weeks since I annoyed my husband by spending $$$ on a damn froglet.

And! I was upsold a jar of calcium powder, because apparently crickets do not provide frog(let)s with the calcium they need to build strong bones or whatever. How are wild frogs getting their calcium? Greek yogurt?

I've now gone from that crazy lady who smuggles tadpoles into the grocery store, to that crazy lady who smuggles crickets into the grocery store. I have to say, it's a little more harrowing.

It took a while to wean Reboot off of the fish food. I don't blame him. Imagine if your whole life, you were swimming in the water, eating neon-colored flakes, thinking you're a fish, and then, one day, legs pop out of your body and the giant beige god stops giving you flakes and insists that you hop on land and kill living creatures with your mouth if you're hungry. It must really suck to be a frog.

But eventually, he got it. I've actually never seen him eat, since I guess tadpoles/tadpoles with legs/froglets/frogs like to eat at night. But I would dump a seasoned cricket on his dock at dinnertime, and by the next morning, it would be gone. Except when it was moldy and stuck to the filter intake. That was actually even grosser than you're imagining.

The third time I went to buy crickets, when the lady asked me how many I wanted, I asked her how long they kept for. My last two bags ended up with half of the crickets dying before I fed them to Reboot, even though I was opening the bag once a day, which was supposedly often enough for them to get adequate oxygen. She responded with, "Do you have a critter keeper?"

Oh, brother. Shut up and take my money, part three.

She brings me to another aisle and shows me the various insect housing and feeding accoutrements available for purchase. If I don't want to end up at Petco every two or three days, I apparently need to raise my own damn crickets.

Again, this all started with a "hatch your own tadpole" kit my son got as a birthday gift.

So, I can choose this food, which I'll need to supplement with water in gel form (because crickets are idiots who would drown in actual liquid water), or that food, which has water included, but doesn't provide the necessary calcium. Ha! Got you there, bitch; I already have calcium powder! I took the food-and-water combo.

And for the housing- I can choose this cage, which is three dollars, or that one, which is twelve dollars, and comes with these neat little tubes that the crickets like to climb inside. When it's feeding time, just pull out the tube and shake the crickets right into the aquarium.

"So, it's going to cost me nine dollars to not touch the crickets?" I asked her.
"Basically, yes."
"That's fair."

So now I'm raising crickets.

Every night at six, I have to cross my fingers that there are at least two crickets in one of those tubes (and if not, I have to trick them into climbing in, which is harder that you think), pour in a pinch of calcium powder, shake it up, and dump them into Reboot's habitat. This fucking frog is getting farm-to-table service while I feed my own son Kraft mac and cheese.

I guess what I'm saying is don't buy a tadpole. 

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