Inmate Frog Technicians Experiment with Cricket Rearing

Inmate Frog Technicians Experiment with Cricket Rearing

by: Inmate Frog Technicians at Cedar Creek Corrections Center

Editor’s note: Below is a message from our frog technicians at CCCC, who are currently experimenting with raising crickets to feed to the endangered Oregon spotted frogs being reared at their facility.

On 10/16/11, we received 65 over-winter frogs from a handful of sites. When received, frogs were about as big as dimes. Now they have grown to the size of half-dollars. They are doing very well, very good coloring, spotting on top and red on bottom.

When frogs were received, four frogs looked very bad and have since died. I don’t know what exactly was wrong with them, all I know is they would not eat and were very thin because of it. Except for that, everything has been going very smoothly.

We have now started a new cricket project. We have always bought our crickets from Fluker Farms to breed, but we have been unable to breed multiple generations with them.  Recently we got Jamaican Black Crickets from Woodland Park Zoo and we feel that we could breed a generation of these crickets.  What we hope to do is cross-breed European crickets with these Jamaican Black Crickets and try to get the long life span from the Jamaican but the easier edibility of the European House Crickets we buy from Flukers.

We are going to get 2500 European crickets (5 weekers) and 2500 Jamaican crickets (5 weekers) and raise them side by side, do everything the same between the tanks, food, water, temperature, etc. We are hoping to see which cricket is a more efficient candidate for our cricket project. And also see which crickets we can raise generations from.

In a totally separate experiment, we want to get 500 of each style crickets and raise them together in one tank, hoping to cross-breed these two crickets, getting traits from both.   We’ll see if that may be the best candidate for our cricket program.

Cricket Traits:

European House Cricket: The more popular of the cricket species, these crickets can grow up to 2cm in length. They are more extensively fed to reptiles. Easily digested.

Jamaican Black Cricket: These crickets grow fast and get bigger, probably reaching 3-4cm in length. In my experiences these crickets live longer and are easier to breed, but might be harder for the frogs to eat when they get too big.

To donate to SPP and support the rearing of the Oregon spotted frog in Washington state, click here.


  1. Ben Thompson

    I am very interested in this study. If you would be willing to keep me up to date with your progress it would be greatly appreciated. I breed many reptiles and i find this fascinating. Best of Luck and look forward to hearing from you.

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  2. 59 Frogs released at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in March! « Sustainability in Prisons Project

    […] was the first at Cedar Creek to vary their diet with the Jamaican Black crickets the inmates have blogged about in the past. Unfortunately, the heavy snowfall insulated the hot cricket shack in January, raising […]

    Reply to this comment ↓
  3. odica

    Update please!!!
    i am rasing black crickets and feeder crickets trying to do a project and i would like to get some updates to see if this is even posable please update or let me know if im wasting my time and money trying to crossbreed crickets. i have myine in the same tank and well they dont seem to be at all bothered by the other

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  4. Andrea Martin


    Unfortunately the inmates had to abandon their ideas about cross breeding the European house crickets and the Jamaican black crickets. While it was a great idea, the two are a completely different genus and will not reproduce together. They are currently raising only the Jamaican black crickets, as they breed much longer, and are a hardier species. SPP is hoping to help with an expansion of Cedar Creek’s rearing facility so that they can raise all they need for this year’s Oregon spotted frog population.

    Good luck with your study!

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