Tuesday, June 28, 2005

DIY Cheap Critter Cages

Start with wire garden plant support, (they come in several sizes) and clip off the three ground stakes about one inch from the end. Then bend them over to round them off and eliminate the sharp ends.

Roll it out on a paper or cardboard template, bookmarking the starting and ending position. Add two inches to the width and twelve inches to the length on each ends. Save the template for cutting the netting fabric. Make another template of the large round part of the plant support for the bottom of the cage. Use template to cut some clear fabric for the cage surround. (Drapery fabric works well) Sew long seam together and pull over wire. Mark the position of the top and bottom after you determine where you want them to end remember to leave an inch or so extra to sew seams on the top and bottom so the ends do not fray. Cut and sew top and bottom seams. Streach over wire, put in round bottom and tie off with nylon cord, wire twisties. Anyway you got the idea. The cage can be hung or set a on stand. This type of cage works great for raising praying mantises and other small insects.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Praying mantis on catnip

Image of Praying Mantis named Big Boy. He is the largest of the first hatched ootheca (egg case). About 67 days old. He is perched on a catnip plant and seemed irritated at me for making him change poses for the camera. I was to busy with the camera to notice if he was affected by the catnip.

I had to make another cage recently to divide the mantids into smaller groupings. They were getting very aggressive all of a sudden and I am not sure why. I found two with there abdomen's chewed in half, dead, but still clinging to the side of the cage(so it had been recent), but their was no sign of a struggle. It was as if they had just stood there and let there selves be eaten. Usually they attack each other from the front and the winner eats the others head off or they will bite the neck area and just drop the dead body to the bottom of the cage. So this was really weird.

Oh, before I forget, they will eat ants, which I had never seen before, as one of the free mantids out in the yard was eating a medium size one, although he must have been very hungry as the caged mantid will completely ignore them.

I have seen some strange things while raising these mantids. Sometimes they will steal food from each other, but other times they will share a fly and eat it together. I have found them sitting on top of the cage the next day when I would have sworn none had gotten out, and the cage was absolutely sealed.
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Thursday, June 16, 2005

Cut hole in top to fit tennis ball can lid or pvc pipe for easy feeding opening.
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Cut three equally sided openings in 5 gallon bucket and glue in nylon screening with spray adhesive or use duct tape.
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Free cages
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