With cicadas being around now, I felt this was a good time to comment on whether or not they are safe to feed to our beloved glider friends.
Cicadas themselves are not toxic however please think twice before giving them to your glider.
I know someone who is an entomologist and this is what he told me in 2 emails: "I wouldn't worry about parasites, but they are a *potential* source for pesticide/herbicide bioaccumulation due to their long life span. Even freshly emerged, the insect has been feeding on tree sap for a minimum of 4 years (depending on species). I'm sure the gliders would love them (even dogs love eating cicadas), and like most insects they most likely pose no risk if they're healthy, but probably not worth the worry in my opinion."
and then: "Hi Jill Marie, feel free to pass this on if you want. The basics of the cicada life cycle is the adult female lays eggs in young branch shoots on suitable trees. The nymphs hatch, drop to the ground and burrow where they live, feeding on tree sap sucked from the tree roots for at least four years for the "shortest" lived of the cicadas, and as long as 17 years for the longest lived of the cicada species. The adults don't live long (great pics by the way :)), only a month or so, but their nymphs are there feeding on tree sap for years. Trees can absorb many pesticides. There are even pesticides that intentionally designed to be taken up by trees for sap sucking pests (e.g. woolly adelgid), and with the nymphs living for so long, they are good candidates for accumulating pesticides they are resistant to but sugar gliders may or may not be. As easy as it is to get captive reared feeders, as yummy as I'm sure they are for a glider, it's just more worry than I'd be willing to take on."
I had also taken this picture to share. Personally I think they are pretty.
Last edited by JillMarie; 06/22/1104:20 PM. Reason: added underlines to highlight emailer's permission to use :)
I think they are super pretty. The ones I used to find were black, though. I LOVE that color green! I haven't seen any here, for a long time. I hear them, but I'm not 5 anymore, so I don't go bug hunting like I used to.
I remember when I was 6 or 7, I was digging in the back yard, and came across a very odd looking bug. It was so disturbing to even think about what it looked like! My mom mashed it with a shoe, and right after, the neighbor came over. My mom told him about it, and he informed us that it was a cicada pupae.
Another one I haven't seen is a June Bug. I used to see those all of the time. Beautiful!!!!!
i'm not a big bug person so i personally wouldn't risk it or want to even think about it. But my friends (brothers) all cooked some and ate them and they're apparently fine (not sure how fine since they did) so they're not dangerous to us.
I find them pretty, too, though I've never seen one in person. It must not be warm enough for them here in Maine.
I would not recommend feeding any wild bugs to gliders, really. Just not worth the risk. For example, grasshoppers, though certainly not toxic, can carry tapeworms.
When you break it down and realize that feeder insects from a pet store cost pennies (or less, if you raise your own!) and are 100% safe, and the gliders love them... well, why risk it?
(Note: my gliders *have* snatched houseflies out of thin air and eaten them before I could even react, and they've lived to tell the tale, but I am just saying that I don't encourage this. But none of us can police our glider cages 24/7, and you can bet if a moth, ant, or spider crawls in there, it's probably going to meet its end.)
Ashley, I have all your June bugs! They dive bomb me & get stuck in my hair if I leave the porch light on @ night. Glad we have a yard light too
Haven't seen a cicada in years. Used to see them all the time when I was little when we lived in Ok. My brother lives in St. Louis & his new puppy has been getting sick she's been eating so many of them