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Can Your Pet Eat Some of the Billions of Cicadas Coming to Illinois?

Safety Tips for Pets During Double Cicada Emergence Event

Cook County, IL—(ENEWSPF)—Billions of cicadas will soon rise from the ground in Illinois. Expect their emergence in late May or early June. Can your pets munch on some of this protein-filled flying feast? The Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control (ARC) urges pet owners to take special precautions to protect their pets’ health and welfare.

This spring and summer, two groups of periodic cicadas well up simultaneously, a natural phenomenon that hasn’t occurred in more than 200 years.

cicada car crash, Ohio 2017
Acquired Through MGN Online on 06/08/2021

Humans should also take care. In 2017, a single cicada caused a car crash in Cincinnati’s East End neighborhood.

Billions of Cicadas: a Tempting Treat for Pets

ARC offers the following tips for pet owners to keep in mind:

Cicadas can startle pets

Cicadas do not bite or sting, are not toxic to pets, and are not known to carry diseases, so interactions are generally safe. However, the noise, size, and movements of cicadas may be startling to some pets. If a pet seems scared, owners should direct it to an area with fewer cicadas, like a comfortable and quiet place inside the home to relax.

Keep your pet on a leash.

In Cook County, dogs must be leashed outdoors unless in a designated, dog-friendly area. Keeping pets on a leash could prevent a startled pet from accidentally getting away and help avoid the overconsumption of insects, bites, cuts, or other hazards.

Monitor cicada consumption

While cicadas aren’t toxic to your friendly animal, gastrointestinal upset can occur if a pet consumes too many cicadas or their discarded “shells” (exoskeletons). Intestinal obstruction or perforation could occur as exoskeletons move through the gastrointestinal tract, mainly if a small pet consumes many cicadas quickly.

Owners should monitor their tame critters outside to ensure they are not consuming too many cicadas. Owners should seek veterinary care if a pet starts experiencing vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or excessive drooling.

If your pet appears distressed, contact your veterinarian for further guidance.

This article originated as a release from the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control.