When millions of cicadas emerge across the eastern United States for a rare mating season, they will appear as tasty morsels to pets who could get sick from eating the insects, officials warned.
The insects are protein-rich but their hard outer shells can cause vomiting and constipation in cats and dogs, said Randall Lockwood, vice president for the Humane Society of the United States.
“Imagine a yard full of chicken nuggets, that’s sort of what it’s going to be like” for dogs and cats, Lockwood said Tuesday.
Millions of the large, red-eyed insects will soon emerge from the ground for a once-every-17-years mating dance lasting well into June.
Experts say the insects will climb into trees and shed their shells to reveal their wings. Males will attract mates through a loud buzzing sound.
The approximately 1½-inch-long bugs “combine all the stuff that particularly dogs like to chase,” Lockwood said. “They’re kind of flying pet toys: They are loud, slow-moving, often low-flying.”
The Washington-based Humane Society advises keeping pets indoors, securing screens and holding tight to dog leashes outdoors.