So you got a reptile for a pet and now you’re wondering what you should feed it. A quick internet search will give you way more options than you need, but what is going to give your reptile the best nutrition?
Dubia roaches are one of the most common suggestions for feeder insects, but what reptiles can eat them?
Most reptiles can and will eat Dubia roaches, the most common pets among them are the monitor lizards, leopard and tokay geckos, bearded dragons, tegus, and veiled chameleons. Small, large, nocturnal, and diurnal reptiles all eat Dubia roaches since they provide an excellent source of nutrition and are active enough to attract hunters.
It seems there isn’t a pet reptile out there that would pass up a Dubia roach meal. We’ll give six of the most common reptiles that can benefit from Dubia roaches in their diet.
Additionally, we’ll review why Dubia roaches are good for reptiles, other advantages to using Dubia roaches as feeder insects, and whether or not there are any reptiles that shouldn’t eat them.
Monitor lizards are not typical house pets considering the large size they can attain. These four to five-foot reptiles need a hardy diet of fruits, vegetables, and small mammals in order to give them the nutrition they need.
However, Dubia roaches make an excellent snack for monitors nonetheless. Full-grown Dubia roaches can provide extra protein for their diet as long as these insects are not the only source of protein.
2. Leopard Geckos
Leopard geckos are strictly carnivores, so their diet consists of different kinds of live insects. Since these lizards tend to stay small, they need access to feeder insects that are size appropriate.
Full-grown adult Dubia roaches are generally too big for leopard geckos to consume, but the smaller nymphs are perfect. Leopard geckos need live insects to hunt, and the Dubia roach nymphs provide an active prey source that isn’t too fast and without the risk of harming the gecko.
Tegus, like monitors, are larger reptiles with a heartier diet consisting of a mixture of vegetables and fruits and small mammals. While adult tegus may not benefit as much from Dubia roaches, hatchling and juvenile tegus consider them a staple for their diet.
In the first few years of their life, tegus require a high protein intake. Gut loaded Dubia roaches are the perfect feeder insect for a growing tegu to become a strong, healthy adult.
4. Bearded Dragons
Bearded dragons are one of the most popular reptiles to feed on Dubia roaches. In fact, beardies rely on the nutrition the roaches provide throughout their entire lives. As babies, bearded dragons will eat twenty-five to fifty Dubia roach nymphs each day!
As they grow into adulthood, bearded dragons need much fewer roaches, only eating about one to two insects per day. However, since the reptiles are bigger, they can consume much bigger prey, so adult Dubia roaches are what they prefer.
You can see in the video above how eager this adult bearded dragon is to gobble up a full-grown Dubia roach:
5. Tokay Geckos
Like their cousins the leopard gecko, tokay geckos are also carnivores. They are very active hunters and love to chase after live prey. Dubia roaches are great feeder insects for these lizards due to their activity and the high concentration of nutrients they provide.
Both Dubia roaches and tokay geckos are nocturnal species making them the perfect predator-prey pair. Plus, Dubia roaches are the perfect feeder insect for such an active and aggressive lizard without the risk of the insect harming the gecko in defense.
6. Veiled Chameleons
Veiled chameleons love insects like crickets and Dubia roaches. Although these lizards are a bit slower than some of their other fast moving insectivorous reptile friends, Dubia roaches still make great food for chameleons.
Dubia roaches may be good at hiding, but veiled chameleons are patient and will happily wait them out for a rewarding snack. Likewise, Dubia roaches aren’t as skittish around chameleons because of the reptile’s slow movements making them the perfect unsuspecting predator.
Are Dubia Roaches Good for Reptiles?
As insect feeders, Dubia roaches are one of the best options for virtually any kind of reptile. They provide lots of nutrition essential for growing reptiles as well as for keeping adult reptiles healthy.
Dubia roaches are high in protein and calcium. Oftentimes feeder insects require dusting with calcium powder in order to ensure a sufficient concentration of the mineral in your reptile’s diet. However, Dubia roaches generally don’t need the additive being so high in calcium already.
Dubia roaches are also low in fat compared to other feeder insects, which lowers the risk of obesity in reptiles that tend to overeat.
Most insects have a hard exoskeleton made of a protein called chitin which can be difficult for reptiles to digest. Dubia roaches have a much lower chitin concentration in their bodies than other feeder insects making them easier to swallow without the risk of choking as well as simpler to digest.
Dubia roaches can also provide other supplemental vitamins and minerals that other feeder insects lack and that can only be gained by gut loading or nutrient dusting.
Another distinct benefit of Dubia roaches is their high moisture content. Dubia roaches are an excellent way to keep your reptile hydrated through their diet. No matter which way you slice it, there are hardly any downsides to feeding Dubia roaches to your reptile.
What Are Some Other Advantages of Feeding Dubia Roaches to Reptiles?
In addition to being highly nutritious, Dubia roaches also provide other advantages as feeder insects for both your reptiles and you as their keeper.
Unlike other feeder insects like crickets that may have sharp spines or other physical defense mechanisms that could harm your reptile, Dubia roaches are spike-free. These insects are not equipped with any claws or pointy edges. They are also not aggressive so there is no risk of them biting or clawing your reptile and exposing them to infection.
Crickets are also prone to escape especially with their ease of jumping around your reptile’s tank with their powerful hind legs. Dubia roaches are no escape artists, so you don’t have to worry about your house being overrun by your reptile’s food.
Dubia roaches will not fly or jump. In fact, they will most likely find the darkest corner of the tank to bury themselves in so once you place them in the tank you probably won’t see them again because they’ll either be hiding or in your reptile’s belly.
Another advantage for you is their ability to breed easily. It is not complicated to keep up a breeding stock of Dubia roaches and they are also much quieter than other feeder insects, especially nocturnal ones.
What Reptiles Should Not Eat Dubia Roaches?
In truth, there are really no reptile species that wouldn’t benefit from eating Dubia roaches. Dubia roaches are not considered poisonous or harmful to most reptiles. As long as your reptile will eat them, Dubia roaches make great feeder insects.
That being said, it is important to keep in mind the appropriate use of Dubia roaches for different reptiles. Smaller reptiles like leopard geckos and baby bearded dragons should not be fed adult Dubia roaches because they may pose a choking hazard.
Additionally, Dubia roaches may not be the best feeder insects for reptiles that are strictly arboreal (live in trees). Dubia roaches will not climb and prefer to stay at the bottom of the tank and hide. If your reptile is unwilling to climb down from its perch for food, it may go hungry if Dubia roaches are for dinner.
Are There Disadvantages to Feeding Dubia Roaches to Reptiles?
There are many advantages to using Dubia roaches as feeder insects for your reptile; however, not all good things come without their costs.
Dubia roaches tend to be more expensive than other feeder insects like crickets. Given the higher concentration of nutrients though, they are worth shelling out a little more dough to ensure your reptiles get everything they need out of their diet.
If you are looking to breed Dubia roaches yourself to cut down on costs, be aware that some people develop an allergy to the insects. It may be wise to wear gloves while handling them so that you don’t have an adverse reaction to your reptile’s food.
Last but not least, Dubia roaches are actually illegal to possess in certain states and countries, like Florida and Canada. Before you decide to buy Dubia roaches for your reptile, check the laws where you live so that you don’t get fined.
Reptiles come in all different dispositions including what different food preferences they may have. Some like to eat a mixed diet of plants and meat while others are strictly insectivores. No matter what your reptile’s persuasion is, rest assured they will probably love Dubia roaches.
High in protein, calcium, and moisture, you can’t go wrong feeding Dubia roaches to the smallest leopard gecko up to the largest monitor lizard. As long as you stick to an appropriately sized insect for your reptile, they will thank you for giving them the best food nature has to offer!