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Do Grasshoppers Make Great Pets? What You Need to Know!

Ashley Bates

As a kid, you probably spent hours outside checking out all the critters that crawled on the ground. When you saw a little grasshopper spring up, you might have run out of fear or tried to catch them. But have you ever considered keeping them as a pet?

Obviously, this would take more care than simply sticking them in a jar with holes poked in the lid. So, what exactly does it take to keep one of these insects—and should you do it at all? Grasshoppers are rewarding to have as pets for certain people. They are easy to keep, feed, and care for—so the commitment aspect isn’t a huge burden to bear. Read on while we lay out the specifics.

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What Kinds of Grasshoppers Are There?

Grasshoppers are otherwise known as locusts, and they are one of the most common insects we know of today. There are several types of grasshoppers across the globe. Throughout the warm summer months, you can find them in your own backyard.

But not all grasshoppers are the same. There are over 660 different species in the United States alone. Here is a list of the more commonly seen types of grasshoppers:

  • Katydid
  • Two-Striped Grasshopper
  • Red-Legged Grasshopper
  • Carolina Locust
  • Melanaplinae
  • Differential Grasshopper
  • American Bird Grasshopper
  • Easter Lubber Grasshopper
  • Pygmy Grasshopper
  • Pseudo Chorthippus Parallelus
  • Migratory Grasshopper
  • Plains Lubber Grasshopper
  • Band-Winged Grasshopper
  • Common Green Grasshopper
  • Schistocerca
  • Painted Grasshopper
  • Silent Slant-Faced Grasshopper
grasshopper on person's hand
Image Credit: Pixabay

Basic Grasshopper Information

Grasshoppers, part of the Caelifera suborder, are some of the most ancient insects in the world. Their powerful legs are a defense mechanism, allowing them to deter predators in nature.

The grasshopper’s long, springy legs also help them to make music with their bellies. In addition, they are designed intricately, capable of jumping long distances and even flying.

It’s typical to see them all over the place during warm months, but it’s not unusual for people to have them at home. Here are some of the primary aspects of grasshopper lifestyles.

Diet

Some grasshoppers are strict herbivores, while other species are omnivores. They reap most nutrients from polyphagous, which is plant material.

In captivity, you can feed your grasshopper a diet of plant material—but their favorites are canary grass and fresh reed. You can also offer vegetables and corn leaves for optimal nutrition.

Lifespan

Most grasshoppers live an average of one year. Once they reach sexual maturity, they reproduce quite quickly, and then they complete their life cycles soon after.

grasshopper and flower
Image Credit: Pixabay

Environmental Needs

Grasshoppers might look small and harmless, but they actually have mighty jaws. Your grasshoppers can easily chew through fabric. So, they require a glass terrarium with a metal wire lid to stay contained.

Male vs. Female

You can sex grasshoppers by taking a look at their abdomen. A female’s abdomen is tapered and tube-like. The male has a rounded, upturned abdomen instead. When they are fully grown, females tend to be noticeably larger than their male counterparts.

Breeding

Grasshoppers breed quickly and plentifully in the autumn months. After males fertilize the females during breeding, the females lay their egg deposits for next summer—eggs hatch after 25 to 35 days.

Females can lay up to 100 eggs per fertile period. So, these insects can multiply with speed.

a grasshopper
Image Credit: Pixabay

Keeping Grasshoppers as Pets: Pros and Cons

Grasshoppers can make great pets for the right owners. Check out the benefits and drawbacks of housing one or more of these insects.

Pros
  • Easy to keep
  • Inexpensive to feed
  • Potentially profitable breeding
Cons
  • Might multiply quickly

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Keeping Grasshoppers for Feed

Since grasshoppers breed so easily, many people keep them for feeders. They are gut-loaded insects, meaning they make terrific food sources for pets like lizards and other reptiles.

If you want to have grasshoppers to offer your pets, make sure that you feed them a plentiful, nutrient-rich diet so your pet can reap the rewards.

Can You Handle Grasshoppers?

You can handle grasshoppers, but try not to stress them out. If you hold them too often or mishandle them, they can get very worked up when you have them out.

Also, injury is possible if they jump into a potential hazard. Therefore, when possible, you should keep your grasshoppers in their habitat.

grasshopper in person's hand
Image Credit: Pixabay

Grasshopper Fun Facts

1. Grasshoppers are older than dinosaurs.

You read that right. Grasshoppers predate dinosaurs—thought to be around 250 million years old. These insects are literally ancient—how cool is that?

2. Grasshoppers can spit.

As a defense mechanism, grasshoppers can spit impressive distances to get predators to leave them alone. The fluid contains partially digested plants and enzymes nicknamed “tobacco juice.”

3. Grasshoppers can jump pretty high.

As their name implies, grasshoppers have quite an extensive jumping ability. Some of these insects can jump as high as 30 inches.

4. Grasshoppers are locusts.

Yes, you read that right—grasshoppers and locusts are the same. However, even though locusts are grasshoppers, grasshoppers aren’t always locusts.

migratory locust
Image Credit: Pixabay

5. A grasshopper is literally like a mini violin.

Grasshoppers can play high-pitched songs with their bodies. When you hear the insects singing in the wind, which one is a grasshopper? Most grasshoppers make a chirping sound by rubbing their legs on their wings.

6. Grasshoppers know how to fly.

Grasshoppers are winged creatures that know how to use them! Grasshoppers might not be able to fly long distances, but they can cover some ground. Some grasshoppers can fly up to 920 feet high.

7. Grasshoppers are voracious eaters.

Grasshoppers can devastate crops and wipe entire fields. But don’t worry about your garden, this only happens in some regions of the world.

8. In some cultures, grasshoppers are a solid protein source.

Grasshoppers carry an average of 72% protein in their bodies. This is incredible! Many countries rely on grasshoppers as a food source for this reason.

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Keeping Grasshoppers: Final Thoughts

So, do grasshoppers sound like a pet you could have around the house?  They are generally inexpensive, and you can replenish your supply with ease. If you have pets that require grasshoppers for sustenance, keeping them can be a great alternative to buying.

No matter your reason, grasshoppers are easily manageable pets for most lifestyles.


Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

Ashley Bates

Ashley Bates is a freelance dog writer and pet enthusiast who is currently studying the art of animal therapy. A mother to four human children— and 23 furry and feathery kids, too – Ashley volunteers at local shelters, advocates for animal well-being, and rescues every creature she finds. Her mission is to create awareness, education, and entertainment about pets to prevent homelessness. Her specialties are cats and dogs.