* Prices may differ from that shown
Grasshoppers as pets is only something i've tried once, although no doubt at some point I will try it again. They tend to sit still more than crickets, which is always good, although when they do move they are just as good at hiding and mocking you with their "song".
If you are going to keep these don't take many from one place, it can negatively impact the amount in that area next year.
First you need a good sized tank or container to keep the hopper/s in. Those smallish plastic tanks with the lids that have loads of slats and a little see through door to open are ideal, you can find them pretty cheap in places like wilkos and the door makes it easier to feed them without a load escaping and taking over your house. Large jars or old icecream tubs can be used, but that does not really give much room, which is part of what they need to be healthy.
Organic potting soil works well, although coir (sterile substrate that comes as compressed blocks and expands with water) can also be used. Personally I think its better to go with the potting soil if these are the only bugs you keep, its easier to get hold of, but if you already keep invertebrates or reptiles with coir then you might as well use a little of that.
Twigs, branches, plantpots, bark, small stones, fake plants and real plants can all be used. Give them a quick clean with plain warm water before using them. Any real plants should be free of chemicals and pesticides that could harm the grasshoppers. There is a chance live plants could introduce other bugs into the grasshoppers home, either on the leaves or in the rootball. Real plants in the tank will usually be at least nibbled.
Foods such as pesticide free grass and dandelion leaves go down well, but lettuce, tomato and sometimes thinly sliced carrot and potato also are often happily eaten. Try different foods with yours and see which they prefer.
A plastic bottle cap with a piece of water soaked cotton wool works fine, as long as you make sure it does not dry out.
"Oh, Merry Fiddler's we!
Music heals body,
Sing, and with
You'll reach your goal!
and you'll see...
Set yourself free!
Roaming the hillsides,
or cozy by hearth,
Keep yourself going with Luck
Hold onto Balance!
swarms you with
Who Sings Now?
"All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous, unpremeditated, act without the benefit of experience." ~ Henry Miller
"Some days there won't be a song in your heart. Sing anyway." ~Emory Austin
"The only sure thing about luck is that it will change." ~Wilson Mizner
Crickets and grasshoppers are perhaps more closely linked as totems than as insects, although they are related sharing a similar body type, and powerful hind legs. Crickets are actually more closely related to Katydids. We'll discuss all three here, but let's begin with the Cricket.There are about 900 species and they typically live in meadows, pastures, along roadsides, under rocks and in logs. They are scavengers that feed on organic and decaying plant matter.Only the males make the distinctive "chirping" all crickets are noted for and they do this by rubbing their wings together. The left forewing has a thick rib with about 30-50 teeth.
They generate this sound by placing that wing at a 45 degree angle and then rubbing it against the upper hind edge of the right forewing, which has a thick scraper. Also known as stridation, this sound is typically used for one of two purposes, calling or courting. The louder calling song attracts females and repels other males. The much quieter courting song is used when a female cricket is near. The first example of a natural enemy that locates its host or prey using the mating signal was the parasitic tachinid fly which lays her eggs on male crickets.
Crickets chirp at different rates depending on their species and their temperature. Most crickets chirp at higher rates as the temperature climbs. (approx. 60 chirps a minute at 13 degrees celsius in one common species; although each species has its own rate). The relationship between temperature and the rate of chirping is known as Dolbear's Law, and according to this law, it is possible to calculate the temperature in Fahrenheit by adding 39 to the number of chirps produced in 15 seconds by the snowy tree cricket so common in the United States.
African tree crickets quite cleverly amplify their chirps by chewing a hole in a leaf, sticking their head through and using the now curved leaf like a megaphone! I find it interesting that a Cricket's ears are located on the knees of their front leg, just below the first joint. I can't imagine what it must be like to have one's hearing so low to the ground!
"Luck never gives; it only lends." ~Swedish Proverb
"Luck never made a man wise." ~Seneca
"You can catch a cricket in your hand but its song is all over the field." Madgascar proverb
Crickets are often kept as pets throughout Asia, and some European countries. In China specially made cricket cages are common. Cricket fighting is also, amazingly enough, a common gambling sport! Crickets are typically seen as lucky, and in some areas, are thought to be reincarnated Ancestors who have come back to lend advice and good fortune. The folklore and beliefs around the world related to Crickets is fairly extensive though. The singing of Crickets is thought to herald rain, pregnancy, or a financial windfall. In Brazil, Brazil, a black cricket in a room is said to portend illness; a gray one money; and a green one hope. Because they are active at night, they are believed to have a link to Lunar energy.
Sometimes a Cricket appearing in a house is considered good luck and other times it is thought to herald a death. It is common to consider killing a cricket in the house as bad luck, although in some cultures they are considered to be a tasty food source! In modern pop culture, Crickets are often used in cartoons to bring humorous attention to a sudden silence. Jiminy Cricket was Pinnochio's conscience and in Mulan a cricket was given to the main character by her grandmother for luck.
Balanced Cricket people have an excellent balance between logic and intuition. Crickets teach us how to be resourceful and use our ingenuity to acquire a desired outcome, to metaphorically leap over the obstacles in our lives. A certain amount of faith and trust is required to make such astonishing leaps, and these too are Cricket lessons. They also serve as excellent weather barometers and when crickets suddenly stop chirping either a storm is preparing to drop, or their is some sort of intruder moving about. Cricket's quiet song is usually either a warning or a good omen and Cricket people would be especially wise to heed their free advice.
Not all storms are metaphorical, after all! Male Crickets should be especially wary of predatory and parasitic females. Those with underdeveloped Cricket energy will often set themselves up as victims of circumstance by taking everything around them too personally. In this case, aerobic exercise is often quite useful in restoring balance. Severe imbalances will most likely show up as wildly erratic logic or patently false intuitive flashes.
"Far from all the resort of mirth, save the cricket on the hearth!" ~ John Milton
"Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain." ~Author Unknown
"Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby." ~Langston Hughes
Grasshoppers are coldblooded herbivourous insects that have antennae almost always shorter than their bodies. There are approximately 10,000 species of grasshopper, and the females typically lay their fertilized eggs (approximately 3-500) in plant roots or just under the surface of the ground or a manure pile. Except for very rare cases, only the males sing, and each species has a unique song.
Those species that make easily heard noises usually do so by rubbing the hind legs against the forewings or abdomen, or by snapping the wings in flight. Upon hatching, Grasshoppers are simply smaller wingless versions of their adult selves, and they go through successive moltings to reach their adult winged size.Before molting, grasshoppers do not eat and become less active. During the molt, they swallow air to build up pressure to split the old form.
In many species a tympana is located on the sides of the abdomen, and is sensitive to sound and vibration. The sense organs (sensory neurons) are found near the exterior of the body and consist of tiny hairs,sensilla, which consist of one sense cell and one nerve fiber. Each is specially calibrated to respond to a certain stimulus.
While the sensilla are found all over the body, they are most dense on the antennae, palps (around the mouth, and cerci (posterior). Being coldblooded, Grasshoppers will be more active in warmer weather and this is one condition that can actually cause extreme changes in their behavior.All species of grasshopper that change color and swarm under high population, low food source, hot temperature conditions are Locusts in waiting; the well-known biblical scourge.
When conditions are right, these species will change from a typically greenish coloration to near black and will fill the skies with their vast numbers. This darker coloring allows them to absorb more heat and sustain the swarm longer. Locusts are highly destructive to crops and property, migratory, potentially hazardous as a visual obstruction, and quite an astonishing sight! Perhaps this is why Disney chose grasshoppers as their greedy and destructive villians in A Bug's Life!
However, "Grasshopper" was also the affectionate nickname for the main character of the 1970's show Kung-Fu; a wise, compassionate, and talented drifter. There is also the infamous Grasshopper who spent all of his time singing and playing music instead of preparing for the coming of Winter.
"All flying insects that walk on all fours are to be detestable to you. There are, however, some winged creatures that walk on all fours that you may eat: those that have jointed legs for hopping on the ground. Of these you may eat any kind of locust, katydid, cricket or grasshopper. But all other winged creatures that have four legs you are to detest." ~Bible: Leviticus 11
"Different fields, different grasshoppers. Different seas, different fish." Indonesian proverb
"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent. " ~Victor Hugo
Grasshopper, like the mighty Whale, carry lessons in using the power of Song to achieve our goals. Many cultures have used Song to alter consciouness, remember histories, laws, and traditions, and to communicate with Ancestors, Divinity, or Spirits. If Grasshopper has caught your attention with his song, he may be encouraging you to express yourself through music, or reaffirm your roots and honor your Ancestors with song.
Some Native American songs date back 20,000 years and are extremely powerful! Symbols of Abundance, Grasshopper also reminds us to listen, both to the World around us and to our own inner voice to achieve our goals. Using this to live your life in a complimentary fashion is, of course, desirable.
Grasshopper can also help us to not only leap over the obstacles in our lives, but show us how to use this extraordinary ability to leap through time, travel the astral plane, and to leap with faith in ourselves from an old lesson to a new one. The appearance of Grasshopper in our lives could also represent a major change in location, relationships, career or just in the way we perceive ourselves.
Balanced Grasshopper people have an uncanny ability to leap into successful situations without planning or preparation. They are very sensitive to the subtle signals from the World around them and should listen to their intuitions. They will find that they don't typically progress as others do in an A to B to C fashion, but rather in swift leaps. Grasshoppers never leap backwards either; onwards and upwards!
Unbalanced Grasshoppers have forgotten that all the resources of the World are meant to be shared by everyone and used in a good and respectful manner. They often become grasping, destructive, wasteful, greedy, or hoard resources. Have you lost faith in yourself? Are you failing to listen to your instincts? Are others taking too much of your time and energy or placing undue responsibility on you? Are you using your resources wisely? These are all reasons why Grasshopper could appear in your life.
Personally, Grasshoppers and Crickets have always been friends to me. Cricket song has lulled me and my children to sleep when all else has failed, and they have warned me of countless storms in time to protect my garden. Several years ago during a trip to South Dakota, I had a very special message from Grasshopper. While walking along a dirt road, I saw a huge potbellied grasshopper unlike any I had ever seen in shades of red. One-legged and too exhausted to move he sat and watched me. I carefully picked him up and placed him in the shade and safety of the tall grass. Since then, Grasshopper has helped me to progress along my own spiritual path by leaps and bounds, as well as constantly reminding me to trust myself.
"When all the birds are faint with the hot sun, And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead; That is the grasshopper's--he takes the lead In summer luxury--he has never done With his delights, for when tired out with fun, He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed." ~ John Keats
Katydids have occasionally been called long-horned grasshoppers due to their long slender shape and green coloration. However, they are, as previously stated, more closely related to Crickets. In addition to the carrying the many messages of both Grasshopper and Cricket, Katydid's also help us through our personal transformations by showing us how best to shed the old casing for a roomier and more attractive new one. They can also help us with issues of camoflague!
Are you blending in too much or standing out like a sore thumb? The cheerful Katydid can help you! Personally, I've always liked the song of this leaf-like hopper and this is one of many nicknames for my youngest child. Her cheerfulness and compassionate understanding of others never ceases to amaze me.
Together these Natural Musicians encourage us to trust ourselves, to leap with faith even if we can't see where we're going to land, to heal and express ourselves through Song, to accept change as a natural part of life, and to "whistle while we work". They guide us through the Astral with their cheerful fiddling and show us the best way to leap over every obstacle, even those we set within ourselves! How do they appear in your life?
"Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them." ~ Henry David Thoreau
"May God give you...for every storm a rainbow, for every tear a smile, for ever care a promise and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share, for every sigh a sweet song and an answer for each prayer" Irish blessing
"Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. ~John Ruskin