Are Cicadas Poisonous?

Cicadas are noisy, loud, flying insects that swarm together for their mating season. Their loudness and size attract attention from both animals and people. The question then arises, are cicadas poisonous, and will you or your pet have any adverse reactions from consuming or coming into contact with them?

Cicadas are non-toxic and safe for humans and animals. People who are pregnant or lactating, have shellfish allergies, or have gout should avoid consuming cicadas. Animals should not consume cicadas in large quantities as their exoskeletons can cause intestinal issues, including vomiting and diarrhea.

Are Cicadas Poisonous To Humans?

Cicadas are non-toxic to humans, and many consider them to be of a similar taste to prawns. Whether you prefer them deep-fried or sautéed, there are options for everyone. During the cicada season, some restaurants even offer them on the menu.

With their low fat and high protein content, these insects are safe to eat for most people. For the unfortunate few, it’s best to avoid cicadas. Cicadas are related to shellfish, which means those with a shellfish allergy should avoid eating these insects as they could have an adverse reaction.

Shellfish contain high levels of mercury, and for this reason, you should prevent young children from eating them. A small taste should be ok, but ingesting a large amount should be avoided.

In the same light, pregnant and lactating women should avoid them because high levels of mercury can affect a fetus’s brain development. Even though you would need to eat many cicadas to become a problem, it is best to avoid them altogether for safety purposes.

34916102 a green cicada walking on a tree branch in a forest
Yay A green cicada

Reports show that eating cicadas can have adverse reactions in people who suffer from gout, with records showing that there could be a chance for gout flare-ups in those who consume large amounts of cicadas.

Cicadas cannot bite as they do not have any jaws. Instead, they have a sucker that enables them to suck up sap from plants. Some people worry that they might get bitten by a cicada and that this might have some adverse reaction but rest assured that you will not get bitten by a cicada.

Are Cicadas Poisonous To Dogs?

If you are worried about your dog snacking on a cicada or two, then rest assured they are non-toxic to dogs. Problems might arise if your dog decides that eating one or two isn’t enough and decides to gorge itself by eating multiple cicadas.

Cicadas have a rough exoskeleton that isn’t easily digestible by dogs. If your dog consumes too many, the exoskeletons’ crispy nature can adversely affect a dog’s gastrointestinal tract. Consuming too many cicadas can result in inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea.

2160523 periodical cicada magicicada septendecim
Yay Periodical cicada (magicicada septendecim)

If your dog starts showing signs of diarrhea, then you should contact your vet for further advice. If your dog starts vomiting from excessive cicada ingestion, you should take them to the vet for an immediate consult. There have been cases of dogs’ digestive systems being severely and in some instances fatally damaged by cicada exoskeletons.

If your dog has shown any signs in the past of being allergic to shellfish, you should make a concerted effort to prevent them from eating any cicadas. As cicadas are related to shellfish, they can cause the same kind of allergic reaction.

Preventing your dog from spending too much time outdoors during a cicada influx would benefit your dog. If you decide to take your dog for a walk, keep it on a short leash to prevent it from consuming too many of these tasty insects.

Are Cicadas Poisonous To Cats?

Cicadas are non-toxic to cats and will not cause any adverse reactions if ingested. You can also rest assured that a cicada will not bite your cat as they do not have mandibles and are therefore unable to bite or harm your cat in that way.

Cicadas are an excellent source of protein for your pet, but as with dogs, you should be aware of how many cicadas your cat is eating. If your cat consumes too many cicadas, it could cause a gastrointestinal reaction from the crispiness of the exoskeleton of the cicada.

13473622 cicadas in the trees
Yay Cicadas in the trees

If you become concerned that your cat has consumed a large number of cicadas, keep your eye on them. On rare occasions, cicadas can cause an allergic reaction in your cat. Signs of this would show up as facial swelling, itching, hives, and other severe reactions such as lethargy, vomiting, fever, or diarrhea.

If they start to show any symptoms of an allergic reaction, it would be a good idea to contact your vet for further instruction or medical treatment.

Are Cicadas Poisonous To Chickens?

When it comes to your livestock making a snack out of some cicadas, the animals that are the most likely to do this are chickens and other fowls. This cicada snacking is no cause for concern as they are not poisonous for chickens, ducks, or geese. An upside to cicada consumption is that they provide a good source of protein and will benefit your pet fowls.

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Yay Cicadas emerging

Are Cicadas Poisonous To Pigs?

Pigs, like humans, are omnivorous and will therefore consume insects depending on the situation. Whether pigs will snack on a fresh cicada is up for debate, but if this had to occur, it would not cause any adverse reactions in your pig. Cicadas are non-toxic to pigs, and you might even consider grinding some up and putting it into your pigs’ feed to give them some extra protein in their diet.

Are Cicadas Poisonous To Rabbits?

Cicadas are not poisonous to rabbits and are an excellent additional source of protein in your rabbits’ diet. Cicadas exoskeletons consist of chitin which gives them their crunchiness, and too much of one thing can often cause adverse reactions in any animal or human.

To prevent any adverse reactions, limit your rabbits’ cicada intake. One thing to ensure is that your rabbits do not overindulge in this crunchy snack.

Cigarra Cicada.
Tomás Del Coro Cigarra (Cicada)

Are Cicadas Poisonous To Rodents?

If you were thinking about whether or not catching a cicada and giving it to your pet mouse or rat as a nice crunchy snack would be a good idea, the answer is yes. Cicadas are not poisonous to rodents, and giving your pet rodent a cicada will benefit it as cicadas are an excellent source of protein.

Cigarra Cicada..
Tomás Del Coro Cigarra Cicada.