When looking into what you can feed your pet Axolotl (or you might not even have one as a pet and just be curious), you’ll likely find that as carnivores, their diet in both the wild and in captivity is mainly protein based from small fish, animals and insects.
Very common food sources for Axolotls are earthworms, nightcrawlers, bloodworms, daphnia and brine shrimp though you’ll also see that many owners will also feed them salmon pellets.
When it comes to insects however, people are not too sure what insects are best, or even suitable for them to eat and the most common question you’ll see is if Axolotls can eat crickets?
Axolotls are carnivores and therefore have a diet made up primarily of animal based protein which they consume through small fish, meat and insects. Axolotls can eat crickets and they happen to be one of the most popular insects to feed to a pet Axolotl. They are not the most nutritious food source though and should therefore be used as an occasional treat rather than a diet staple.
When looking through a list of dietary requirements or recommendations you’ll often find that crickets are listed as a good and suitable food source for an Axolotl and in this article, we’ll help you understand what type of crickets you should buy and how you should feed them to your Axolotl.
Can Axolotls Eat Crickets
Axolotls can eat crickets and you’ll find that among a range of other insects, crickets are actually one of the most common and popular types of insects to feed to your Axolotl.
Crickets are not the most nutritious food source for an Axolotl though and therefore should not be a diet staple but something they can consume occasionally as a treat with most opting to feed them crickets 1 – 2 times per week.
Besides offering some variety to your Axolotls diet, another good reason to feed them crickets is for the hunt. This will not only provide entertainment for the Axolotl but also for the owner and we’ll explain the best ways to feed your Axolotl crickets a little later on in this article.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Crickets
According to Caudata, live crickets are a good source of nutrition for Axolotls however, only being rated as good means that they are a secondary food source and as mentioned earlier they should therefore be treated as an occasional treat to add variety to your pet Axolotls diet.
Below are some benefits and drawbacks that you should consider when deciding whether or not to feed your Axolotl crickets.
- Widely available in local pet shops, online and you can even breed your own
- Gives your Axolotl a food source to hunt and catch (can be entertaining for both the Axolotl and the owner)
- Are a food source they would naturally consume in the wild
- They can be difficult for some Axolotls to catch and therefore require supervised feeding or assistance
- They are not a completely nutritious food source (frozen crickets are practically devoid of most nutrients)
- They can bite and potentially injure your Axolotl
- Don’t sink or swim(Axolotls are typically bottom feeders)
- They need to be dusted with calcium powder due to them containing a poor calcium-phosphorus ratio.
Frozen crickets are also an option but they are essentially void of their nutritional value and we feel that they are not a good option, even when using them as just a treat.
How to Correctly Feed Crickets to Axolotls
Axolotls might be carnivores and are well developed to feast on prey however that doesn’t mean that they are particularly good hunters.
Just watch this video below and judge for yourself how difficult the Axolotls find it to catch and eat the crickets.
As you can clearly see, both Axolotls are finding it incredibly difficult to catch and eat the crickets and if they went about feeding unsupervised in a larger tank, you might find that some Axolotls might never be able to eat crickets of this size if they can’t catch them!
To feed your Axolotl crickets you have two options, you can feed them live crickets or frozen crickets and as mentioned earlier, we feel that frozen crickets are not really a great option as they are devoid of nutrients.
The type of cricket will also need to be factored in as some types will either be too large to consume (in which case you should always be cautious and go for a smaller option) or have too tough of an exoskeleton for your Axolotl to digest which could result in choking.
It’s, therefore, best to always seek expert advice from the shop owner when buying crickets, especially when doing so as a new and untested food source for your Axolotl.
Axolotls are primarily bottom feeders though they will be triggered by the crickets movement along the surface of the water once you introduce them to the tank and therefore you have two options when feeding your Axolotl crickets.
Firstly, you can place the crickets on top of the water and wait for the Axolotls hunting instinct to kick it (it will) to then pursue and catch the crickets.
If your Axolotl is struggling to catch the crickets to eat them then your second option is to simply feed the crickets to your Axolotl by using some long steel tweezer tongs. This will of course remove the fun aspect of the hunt but it will at least ensure that your Axolotl eats the crickets.
While crickets can be a good food source for your Axolotl and they certainly can eat them, many owners and experts feel that crickets should be fed as an occasional treat rather than being a diet staple and that is because there are simply more nutritious and better options available like nightcrawlers or bloodworms.
If you are going to feed your Axolotl crickets then do so with supervised feedings and help them to feed if needed by holding the crickets with tongs. Also, ensure that you buy live crickets that are not too large and purchase them from local pet shops as these will have a lower likelihood of carrying parasites.
Don’t be too deterred by that list of requirements though, most Axolotls can catch crickets as demonstrated by the video we added earlier and they do offer a great bit of variety to an Axolotls diet which makes them a very viable food option.
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