Crickets for Breakfast
Our Leopard Gecko, Lenard, LOVES to eat crickets for breakfast (click here to learn more about Lenard). Many of our Animal Ambassadors like to eat crickets, other insects, and arthropods as a main part of their diet. Animals that eat insects are insectivores. Many people also eat crickets and other arthropods as part of their diets! When humans eat insects and bugs as part of their diet it is called entomophagy.
Crickets and other bugs are an important food source for animals and people around the world. People from Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, China, Africa, Mexico, Columbia, and New Guinea to name just a few. Insects and other arthropods have served as a food source for people for tens of thousands of years. They are accessible, take fewer resources to raise and eat than most meat. Nutritious and yummy!
Can I take your order?
Imagine you are the new head bug-chef at the latest pop-up restaurant, it’s your job to invent some yummy dishes to put on the menu! Using a piece of paper and drawing tools (or this template to get you started), create a menu of some delicious dishes to serve. Think about what edible insect meals you might like to try!
There are over 1,400 known insects that people eat, so let your imagination run wild! Some common bugs include crickets, grasshoppers, ants, caterpillars, other larvae, and arachnids like scorpions and tarantulas.
When kids use imagination to take on a perspective different than their own, it helps them develop empathy and foster an understanding of others that are different than them. It can also encourage problem-solving, challenge kids to think in new and different ways, and is a great way to relieve stress.
Extend the Learning
- Give bugs a try!
Several restaurants in the LA area have insects on the menu (tip: try using the search term ‘edible insects’). You may also spot them in shops around town. There are several edible insect products available online. We enjoy ordering a few different types and sharing what we liked (or didn’t like) about them.
- Try cooking them at home
Our friends over at the Natural History Museum Los Angeles County have some cool resources to check out, including a cooking demo by bug chef Aly Moore and free download of a recipe book. Be sure to purchase from a company selling food-grade bugs if you go this route!
- Watch this cool TED-Ed talk together!
Allergy heads-up: some folks who are allergic to crabs, lobster, shrimp and the like are also allergic to other arthropods like crickets and grasshoppers