predators of cicadas revealed

What Animals Eat Cicadas?

Cicadas are a buzzing sign of summer, but did you know they are also a crucial part of the food chain? These flying insects are not only consumed by humans, but they also serve as a vital food source for a variety of animals.

From squirrels to birds to snakes, many creatures rely on cicadas for sustenance. In this article, we will explore the fascinating world of cicada consumption by different animals, uncovering the nutritional benefits and potential risks associated with these buzzing creatures.

Key Takeaways

  • Cicadas are a nutritious meat alternative, high in protein and minerals.
  • Almost every animal, including squirrels, snakes, birds, domesticated pets, and even humans, feeds on cicadas.
  • Canines and cats can safely eat cicadas, but excessive consumption can lead to health issues.
  • The abundance of cicadas leads to increased animal and bird populations, including snakes and cicada killer wasps.

Nutritional Benefits of Cicadas

Cicadas offer a substantial amount of nutritional benefits to animals, making them a valuable food source. These insects are high in protein and minerals, making them a nutritious alternative to traditional meat.

In fact, cicadas are so nutritious that they've been considered for culinary uses beyond animal consumption. Some experts have even explored the possibility of cicada farming to meet the growing demand for sustainable protein sources.

However, it's important to consider the risks and considerations of eating cicadas, such as their potential bio-accumulation of mercury and the risk of allergic reactions for those allergic to seafood.

Despite these concerns, the nutritional benefits of cicadas make them an attractive food source for animals and potentially for humans as well.

Risks and Considerations for Eating Cicadas

What are the risks and considerations associated with eating cicadas?

While cicadas are a nutritious food source for many animals, there are some risks and considerations to be aware of.

One concern is the bio-accumulation of mercury in cicadas. Mercury is a toxic heavy metal that can accumulate in the tissues of cicadas over time. This can pose a potential health risk for animals, especially those that consume large quantities of cicadas.

Another consideration is the choking hazard of eating cicadas. Cicadas have rigid wings and other hard body parts that can present a choking hazard, particularly for pets. It's important to closely monitor pets when they're eating cicadas to prevent any choking incidents.

Animals That Eat Cicadas

Which animals consume cicadas as part of their diet?

Cicadas are a popular food source for a variety of animals in different ecosystems. Predators such as squirrels, snakes, birds, and domesticated pets like dogs and cats all indulge in cicada consumption. Canines can safely eat cicadas, but excessive ingestion should be avoided. Cats can eat cicadas without choking, thanks to their small digestive tracts.

Mammals like rats and bats readily include cicadas in their diet, while snakes are drawn out by their presence. Cicada killer wasps also prey on cicadas. The impact of cicadas on predator-prey dynamics is significant. Studies indicate that the abundance of cicadas leads to increased populations of animals and birds, as well as the survival and reproduction of snake populations.

These findings highlight the importance of cicadas as a food source in various ecosystems.

Effects of Cicadas on Animal Populations

The presence of cicadas has a significant impact on the populations of animals and birds in various ecosystems. Studies suggest that the abundance of cicadas leads to increased animal and bird populations.

Snakes, for instance, thrive when cicadas are plentiful, as they feed on these insects and can survive longer and reproduce in greater numbers.

Similarly, cicada killer wasps, which emerge in early summer, experience rapid population growth, with a survival rate of about 40%.

Other insects, such as certain fish species, also take advantage of cicada emergence for feeding, further contributing to the impact on ecosystem dynamics.

The survival advantages provided by cicadas as a food source contribute to the overall population growth and balance within these ecosystems.

Cicadas and Fly Fishing

When cicadas emerge, fly anglers can take advantage of this opportunity for excellent fishing experiences. The emergence of cicadas triggers a feeding frenzy among fish in bodies of water, attracting the largest fish in streams, rivers, and lakes to the surface.

Fly fishing during the cicada season can be highly rewarding. To maximize their chances of success, fly anglers can utilize specific cicada fishing techniques and equip themselves with the right fly fishing equipment for catching cicadas.

One effective technique is to use large, foam-bodied flies that mimic the size and appearance of adult cicadas. These flies can be presented on the water's surface or just below it to entice fish into striking. Additionally, fly anglers may want to consider using a heavier tippet to handle the aggressive strikes from fish targeting cicadas.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do Cicadas Taste?

Cicadas have a unique taste that can vary from nutty to earthy. Some people describe them as similar to shrimp or crab. Cicada cooking recipes are available for those who consider them a delicacy.

Can Cicadas Be Harmful to Humans if Consumed?

Cicadas can be harmful to humans if consumed in large quantities. While they are considered a delicacy in some cultures, potential health risks include allergic reactions, bioaccumulation of mercury, and possible choking hazards.

Are There Any Specific Animals That Rely Heavily on Cicadas as Their Primary Food Source?

Cicadas serve as a primary food source for various animals, impacting the ecosystem. They support snake and bird populations, while mammals like rats and bats readily consume them. Cicadas are a valuable part of the food chain, but moderation is crucial.

Do Cicadas Have Any Predators Aside From Animals Mentioned in the Article?

Cicadas, though seemingly invincible, have predators beyond the animals mentioned. These predators, with their insatiable appetite, play a vital role in maintaining ecological balance, keeping the cicada population in check.

Are There Any Negative Effects on the Ecosystem When Cicadas Emerge in Large Numbers?

Large emergences of cicadas can have negative impacts on the ecosystem. They can damage plant life by feeding on tree branches and laying eggs. Additionally, the abundance of cicadas can disrupt other insect populations, affecting their food sources and ecological balance.


In the buzzing world of cicada consumption, these insects prove to be a valuable and sustainable food source for a wide range of animals. From squirrels to humans, the nutritional benefits of cicadas can't be ignored.

However, there are risks and considerations associated with their consumption. Despite these concerns, the diverse world of cicada eaters continues to thrive.

So, let's embrace the fascinating effects of these buzzing creatures on animal populations and marvel at the intricate web of life they contribute to.

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