What Happens If Pets Eat Cicadas?


As Brood X emerges from its 17-year gestation period, pet owners may be concerned if their pet swallows these bugs.

It’s a momentous occasion that happens once every two decades—the re-emergence of cicadas. After a 17-year hiatus, Brood X has a new generation of cicadas coming out of the ground and, inadvertently, tempting dogs with their crispy, crunchy shells. Given the curious nature of cats and dogs, it’s only natural that they swat, nose and even bite the unidentified creatures. But what happens when pet owners hear that dreaded swallow?

As it turns out, nothing. While it’s not a healthy habit to encourage, pet owners shouldn’t be concerned if their animal eats the occasional cicada or two. In fact, veterinarians explained to the New York Times that the only concern is overindulgence and upset stomachs, which come in the forms of lethargy, diarrhea and vomiting. While cicadas do carry a fungus, it only impacts the bugs—not the entities that eat them.

The panic surrounding pets and cicadas is a rare event, given the longevity of the bugs’ gestation period. When that concern is factored in with the increased emotional bond pets and pet parents forged over the past 16 months, it’s only natural for owners to worry.

Cicada consumption is more of a concern for dog owners than cat owners, given the increased time dogs spend outside. Outdoor cat parents shouldn’t be concerned, either; the veterinarians interviewed by the NYT explained that cats are more inclined to go after static prey, not those that are moving.

For pet parents who are still wary about walking their dogs during this infestation, it’s recommended to get out before dawn or after dusk.