Category Archives: Science

The trouble with crickets

Blog post by Graduate Assistant Liesl Plomski:

Folks love to see the endangered Oregon spotted frogs being raised by inmates at the Cedar Creek Corrections Center (CCCC). They look so cute, little and green with red bellies. But in reality, they are ferocious predators that consume up to 8,000 crickets a week! Last weekend alone, we cleaned out the entire cricket supply in Olympia’s two largest pet stores.

Twice a week, I order 4,000 crickets to be shipped FedEx to Harry and Al, the CCCC inmates who lead this project. I’m learning that many things can go wrong when you ship crickets across the country. For example, we recently received a box with a hole in its side – and only 9 crickets! This means that somewhere between Alabama and Washington State, there is a FedEx truck with 3,991 crickets running loose on board. It’s hard to divide 9 crickets among 70 frogs, so I raided the nearest local pet stores, whose staff members now know us personally.

If I ever doubt why we are trying to save this endangered species, I simply remember how much they eat. Frogs are one of the major predators that keep insect populations in check. Just think how many mosquitoes it would take to equal the weight and size of 8,000 crickets. So watch out, insect world, here come our hungry, prison-raised Oregon spotted frogs!