Spy on Crickets

Summer is a great time to get to know one of the coolest little creatures around: a cricket.

Catch a Cricket
Find a place where there are rocks, logs, or boards lying on the ground. Carefully lift the shelter and get ready to pounce! If you see a cricket, quickly cup one hand over it. Then with the other hand, scoop up your catch. Plop the cricket into a container with a lid. Before you leave, gently replace all rocks, logs, or boards you moved so creatures can have their homes back.

Make a Cricket Your Pet
Take your cricket home and find a good place to keep it. Any place that’s room temperature is fine, but never put your cricket in direct sunlight.

A large plastic peanut-butter jar or old fishbowl makes a perfect home. Put about an inch of slightly damp soil in the bottom. Add something for your cricket to hide under. For food, add a small slice of apple or potato. Then drop in your cricket.

Cover the jar opening with a piece of screening held in place with a rubber band. Or use a lid with plenty of holes punched in it. Be sure to give your cricket fresh food every day.

Study Your Cricket
A scientist who studies crickets is called a grigologist. Here’s how you and your child can become grigologists:

  • Check out your cricket’s body parts. How many can you name? (Use a magnifying glass to get a close-up look.)
  • Watch your cricket closely to determine when it is most active, when it eats, and when it hides.
  • Try feeding it different kinds of foods. Which does it like best?
  • Dim the lights in the room, then shine a flashlight on your cricket. How does it react?

You might want to keep a cricket journal and record all of your discoveries. Then after a week or so, take your cricket back to where you found it and let it go.

Make a Creature Castle in Your Backyard
Like all creatures, crickets need just the right kind of habitat (place to live). You can help provide good shelter for crickets, as well as for chipmunks, lizards, and many other kinds of creatures. Just find some rocks and pile them up in your backyard. Then keep an eye on your “creature castle” and see how many different animals use it as a shelter.

FUN FACT: There are more than 130 species (kinds) of crickets living in North America.  Some of the most common ones are the field cricket, ground cricket, camel cricket, tree cricket, and mole cricket.