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Pet Food -

Firebrats & Insects

a Wacky but Novel Idea

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Pets with a Gift

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Now Commercially available: Firebrats to be used for food

The Firebrat, scientific name Thermobia domestica, is a
small insect from the same family (Lepismatidae) as the
Silverfish. They are fast running and alert insects that
probably originated in Eurasia and now have spread all over
the world, probably as stowaways in ship cargo and the
trunks of travelers.

The brown or mottled grey and tan Firebrat grows to a length
of three-eighths to one half inch (one half to one and one
half centimeters). The antennae are threadlike and longer
than their body, and are usually swept back parallel to
their body. There are three long filaments that stick out
the back like a tail.

Firebrats live to live indoors, and are often found near
human cooking spots, eating crumbs and food scraps that have
been dropped and enjoying the warmth, hence the common name
of Firebrat. They will eat any dry edibles that are rich in
protein or carbohydrates, so they may occasionally cause
problems in homes by chewing on dry foodstuff, glue, and
starch such as book bindings, clothing, and magazines.

Firebrats have become commercially available as live pet
food only recently. They are good live food for small
reptiles and frogs as well as the young of any insect-eating
animal. When you buy Firebrats, be sure to keep them totally
dry, and at temperatures between eighty-six and one hundred
and thirteen degrees Fahrenheit (thirty and forty-five
degrees Celsius).

The best way to keep them warm enough is to buy a small
plastic tub with paper kitchen towels. Then cut a window
into the top of the box and glue window screen or a piece of
nylon hosiery over it for ventilation. Line the bottom of
the box with paper kitchen towels and add a cotton ball in a
jar lid for a watering trough and another jar lid that you
keep full of fresh fish flakes with calcium (from your pet

If you are considering breeding your own, female Firebrats
lay round white, soft-shelled eggs in clusters of 50 or
more, often weekly, hiding them in crevices in warm, moist,
dark places. Hatching takes about two weeks and growth to
maturity take from weeks to many months, depending on
environmental conditions such as the supply of food, and the
temperature and humidity. Nymphs can take up to 2 years and
about 40 molts to reach full size. The maximum life-span of
a Firebrat in warm situations is about 30 months.

See in addition to the above:
Invertebrates as Pets

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