Grasshoppers are found all over the world, and they’re often a good source of food for many animals, including birds like wild turkeys, crested flycatchers, hawks, chicken, blackbirds, bluebirds, and others; raccoons are also the predators of grasshoppers, as are bats, red foxes, beetles, mantis, dragonflies, snakes, rodents, and even fish.
As you can see, the list of grasshopper predators is very long. That’s mainly because these insects are spread throughout the whole world and live in a variety of habitats, but also because they don’t have the best defense mechanisms.
Grasshoppers are near the bottom of the food chain, as they’ll mostly eat grass, vegetable-based foods like flowers and seeds – but they’ll rarely catch other animals themselves (unless they’re dead already).
Let’s go through the list of the most common grasshopper predators.
What Eats Grasshoppers?
You might not think that a dragonfly is strong enough to catch a grasshopper, but it’s surprisingly powerful for its stature due to its large wings.
Their main predatory mechanism is their legs, as they create a basket with their legs, which acts as a sort of a net that then catches a smaller insect in its way.
Then, they’ll use their legs to hold the prey in place, while also utilizing the full power of their wings to remain steady in the air. This allows them to eat their prey while they’re still flying, which is an impressive feat for a relatively small animal like them.
Dragonflies are also quite fast, as they’re capable of flying at around 30 miles per hour, allowing them to catch up with even smaller and faster types of insects like mosquitoes. They can also fly backward and remain in one place, which gives them power over smaller animals.
A prominent predator at night, the bat is capable of threatening many types of smaller insects they might find outside. Most types of bats will eat insects, and some will eat exclusively insects. This means we call them insectivores.
They’re good at decimating mosquito populations, and they’ll also look for beetles, grasshoppers, and other insects they can find in their habitats. They’re able to catch grasshoppers unaware, especially at night as these insects are resting away.
3. Crested Flycatchers
The great crested flycatcher is one of the main predators of grasshoppers, especially in the east of the North American continent. This bird will feed on all kinds of flying insects, including grasshoppers.
They’ll swoop along the foliage to find hidden insects that are trying to protect themselves. Although crested flycatchers are not the most stealthy of predators, they’re perfectly capable of catching several grasshoppers in a day in order to provide food for their nests.
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4. Other Birds
Birds are among the most common predators of grasshoppers. Along with the ones we’ve mentioned above, there are also many other species of birds that prey on flying insects, such as bluebirds, blackbirds, and even chickens.
Bluebirds and blackbirds are quite similar in the way they catch grasshoppers. They’re quite small in stature so they have to be quicker than the grasshopper in order to catch it. Even chickens might try to catch grasshoppers if they find themselves in grassy areas, as they can be too quick for these small insects!
Hawks are much more skilled predators than flycatchers and turkeys and will eat anything from a grasshopper to a small mammal.
They’ll dive from far above, meaning that grasshoppers are easy prey for them. Even though hawks prefer larger types of prey such as rodents, they won’t say no to an easy snack such as a grasshopper. For hawks, grasshoppers are a secondary type of food, though.
Hedgehogs were once classed as pure insectivores, but they’re seen as omnivores nowadays. They’ll eat smaller insects, rodents, as well as some types of fruits like watermelon.
These spiky and beautiful animals are not normally seen as voracious predators, but they’ll take every chance they can get out in the wild to catch insects. They’ll happily feed on smaller insects such as grasshoppers, as well as snails, and even frogs and toads that can be easily caught.
Raccoons are known for being very resourceful animals. They’re adaptable to various habitats, meaning you’ll find them almost anywhere in the world.
They’re capable of surviving out in the woods as well as in the mountains, and even in urban areas.
To do that, they have to accept different types of food. If they live in urban areas, they’re happy to feed off scraps they can find in human leftovers; out in the wild, things are a little different. They are capable of catching smaller rodents and insects, so they will certainly go after grasshoppers if things get tough.
But they prefer to eat larger types of grasshoppers because they need more protein and nutrients to keep fed. So if they come across this insect in the wild, they are not likely to let this opportunity pass.
8. Red Foxes
Yes, red foxes are one of the trickier predators out in the woods. But there’s no shame for them to catch an easy snack for themselves such as a grasshopper, as well as other smaller insects and rodents.
Primarily, foxes like to eat larger rodents such as mice and rats, and even some mammal species that are smaller in size than them. But once those populations get scarce because of other predators, red foxes will have to make do with smaller types of prey like grasshoppers.
Smaller snakes that are found in grassy areas, such as green snakes, garter snakes, and ring-necked snakes, are voracious insect eaters.
Snakes have strong predatory instincts and are also quite fast, allowing the grasshopper little to no chance of escaping.
For many farmers in grassy lands, these snakes are quite welcome because grasshoppers eat and destroy their crops. Some farmers might even purposely use these snakes to decimate grasshopper populations in order to preserve their crops, which is an older mechanism that still works. Many farmers find these more useful than various pesticides.
While tarantulas eat grasshoppers, tarantula owners should note that it’s best to feed grasshoppers that were bred in captivity.
Wild grasshoppers may carry some diseases that could harm your pet tarantula. Furthermore, it’s advisable to feed a tarantula recently-killed insects rather than live ones to minimize the chance of a fight that might harm the tarantula.
In the wild, a tarantula will pounce on an unsuspecting grasshopper and consume it for lunch!
11. Wild Turkeys
The wild turkey is native to North American plains where they’ll look for smaller insects and snakes for food.
They’re not the best hunters, so they’ll make do with what they can find themselves. Primarily, they’re foragers, so they’ll collect fruits and vegetables as a primary source of their food.
However, to get enough proteins in their food, they also need meat-based foods. They’ll look for smaller insects and reptiles for food. Turkeys are happiest when they find a small insect that’s relatively easy to catch – which is why they go after grasshoppers. Even though they can be stubborn at times, turkeys eat grasshoppers as a good source of protein.
Grasshoppers are lively animals that will bounce around and even fly when they’re threatened. But this doesn’t stop many types of predators, especially birds, snakes, rodents, smaller mammals, and other larger insects like dragonflies to go after them.
Some grasshopper species are toxic when eaten, so they’re not as common predators as regular grasshoppers. They’ll also use powerful legs to try and bounce away from their predators, although that’s often not enough to help them survive.
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