Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Crickets and Roaches and Beetles, Oh My!!

Here at the Leadville National Fish Hatchery, the "featured" species is the Greenback Cutthroat Trout. This is a prime breeding facility for this threatened species.

However, a lesser known endangered species is raised here as well, the Wyoming Toad. Our refuge manager raised Wyoming Toads at his previous position at the Saratoga National Fish Hatchery, and he took the opportunity to add them here as well.
Wyoming Toads
But before you can raise toads, you've got to establish a food supply. And these guys eat pretty darned well!  Check out their weekly menu.
Lunch is Served
Where do they get all of these delicious toad delicacies? They raise them here!
Insect Room
They raise worms, roaches, crickets, isopods (roly-polies), bean weevils, and flour beetles. The bugs eat pretty well themselves. Another menu:
Delicious AND Nutritious
Some of the insects are pretty easy to care for. The bean weevils are left alone with their beans. You may have seen a few of these guys in your pantry.
Bean Weevils
And flour beetles live in big tubs of flour. Pretty simple. 
Flour Beetles
The Red Wigglers (worms) enjoy kitchen scraps, so the staff here save theirs for a little worm recycling. The commercial worm bin has several layers which makes it easy to collect the worms when the time comes.
Worm Bin
It seems like the "go-to" foods for the toads are roaches (Red Runners, aka Turkish Roaches) and crickets. These guys take quite a lot of care and feeding.
Food Prep
The bugs are fed once a day. First their fruits and vegetables are washed and peeled. Then they are cut into appropriate sizes for the different sizes of roaches and crickets.
Chop Chop
Container by container, old food is cleaned out, and new food and water is added. It is amazing how quickly the food is consumed each day.
Old Food
Larger insects get water bottles, while the little guys get a moist paper towel so they won't fall in and drown.
Fresh Food and Moist Towel
It doesn't take long before the insects are eating their fresh food.
Lunch is Served
 This isn't a job for the squeamish, so I guess it's good that Teri and I don't mind bugs!
A Whole Lot of Roaches
Check back for the actual feeding of the toads.



  1. We got to do a little bit with Wyoming toads when we volunteered at Arapaho. Save those little critters. Interesting post.

  2. Once we participated in a Wyoming toad count. That was an interesting experience.

  3. Who would have thought? A whole 'nother way to recycle that I've never heard of. Lucky insects! (at least for a while)

  4. Very interesting and great post. Thanks!

  5. Looks like a great spot you are volunteering in!