Are Dubia Roaches the Best Live Food for Bearded Dragons?

Are Dubia Roaches the Best Live Food for Bearded Dragons

If you’ve ever given your bearded dragon dubia roaches (scientific name Blaptica Dubia), you’ll know how much they love them! Though we wouldn’t find them delicious, they’re delicious to beardies.

As well as being flavorsome, dubia roaches contain lots of nutrients that bearded dragons need to be healthy. These have many good things your pet needs with much less of the wrong things.

There is a lot to like about these roaches. They taste great, have good nutritional value, and are easy to digest. They’re also easy to provide and convenient.

In this article, we’ll detail all of the things dubia roaches offer so that you know whether to choose these as your primary live food source for your pet.

The Basics of A Bearded Dragon Diet

These popular lizards (usually from the Pogona vitticeps species) originate from southern areas of Australia.

It wasn’t until the 1990s that they became available as pets in the United States. However, they make trendy pets nowadays.

Lots of this is down to how curious, engaging and friendly they are when socialized. They are also usually healthy and live a long time too.

Bearded Dragon Gaping

Omnivorous Reptiles

These beautiful creatures are omnivorous, which means they have a mixed diet of animals (insects, mostly) and plants (usually leafy greens)—the ratio of animal to plants in their diet changes during their development.

Baby bearded dragons require a different ratio to juveniles, as do adults. When young, they have a higher need for protein, minerals, and vitamins to fuel their rapid growth.

Once they’re fully grown, they don’t need as much. As they age, dietary protein is required less and less.

Owners are responsible for ensuring that their pet bearded dragon consumes the right amount and type of food according to their stage of development.

Most health conditions and problems in bearded dragons are down to poor diet, poor lighting, and improper heat.

Poor Diet Complications

If a bearded dragon’s diet is sub-standard, problems will begin with mild deficiencies. If this continues, the beardie’s health will decline, and their appearance will diminish.

A poor diet causes profound health implications, including constipation, nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism, and metabolic bone disease.

These have the potential to be debilitating, and so they’re best avoided in the first place.

What Do Bearded Dragons Eat in The Wild?

From captivity and in their natural habitat, researchers studied adult bearded dragons and what they ate by examining the contents of their stomachs.

They found that 61% of their diet was insects, 20% was fat, and 16% was plant matter.

At the time of the study, termites and locusts were abundant and accounted for most of what they had eaten. Proving that Beardies are opportunistic feeders and eat whatever is available.

Protein content

One interesting thing to note was that the protein content of the locusts they ate was almost the same as Dubia roaches at 52% and 54%, respectively. Moreover, the carbohydrate and fat content is pretty much the same too.

How Does This Compare to Bearded Dragons’ Diets in Captivity?

It’s hard to use this study to determine what bearded dragons should eat in captivity because they are opportunistic – they eat what is available in the wild. Moreover, their natural diet isn’t necessarily the best diet for them.

Thankfully, we can choose to give them the best possible diet as our pets.

Protein to Plant Ratios

Bearded dragons under the age of four months should eat 30% vegetables and 70% insects. This ratio can vary.

As bearded dragons age, the ratio gets to 50:50 before switching to plant matter with a few insects. When these animals are particularly elderly, they might only consume 10% insects with 90% plants.

Breeding females also need adequate protein, vitamins, and minerals to fuel their rapid growth.

Dubia Roaches for Bearded Dragons

Why choose Dubia roaches for bearded dragons? As previously mentioned, they have a similar protein content to the locusts found in wild bearded dragon stomachs. What’s more, bearded dragons love them!

Quality Protein

Not all protein sources are equal. The same can be said of live food choices for Bearded Dragons.

Dubia roaches are the one choice that stands out because they are packed with quality protein. They also have all the necessary micro and macronutrients.

Are Dubia Roaches the Best Live Food for Bearded Dragons

Dubia Roaches and Other Nutrients

Healthy roaches contain many macro and micronutrients important for bearded dragons. Specifically, they contain calcium.

Many bearded dragon owners worry about calcium supplementation as a lack of calcium can lead to metabolic bone disease.

The good news is that Dubia roaches have much more calcium than 80% of other feeder insects.

Even better is if you can find gut-loaded or dusted roaches to get vitamins and minerals, too.

Gut Loading and Dusting

Dubia roaches for bearded dragons can be gut-loaded well. They have a stomach that is capable of holding twice their body weight!

Their ample stomach capacity means that you can feed them large amounts of fruits and vegetables with the required amount of nutrients you need.

Things like carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes are excellent for feeding roaches as they’ll provide lots of vitamin A to your beardie.

Beardie Hydration

Feeder roaches can also help hydrate your bearded dragon. Although these insects can live without water for a long time, they will consume it when they eat moist food.

Gut-loading roaches for bearded dragons is a great way to boost their hydration.

Bearded dragons often suffer from dehydration. If this is an issue with your bearded dragon, you can offer Dubia roaches after feeding them high moisture content foods like watered-down roach chow, fruits, or vegetables.

Cockroaches can survive a long time without water. However, they will consume a fair amount of it when combined with food or contained within it.

Therefore, this method of gut loading Dubia roaches is an effective way to boost bearded dragon hydration.

Why Dubia Roaches’ Gut Physiology Makes Them Ideal Feeder Insects for Bearded Dragons

Compared to other insects, Dubia roaches can consume vast amounts of food. What’s more, they will easily consume healthy foods.

And if this wasn’t enough, they also hold onto their food for much longer than other feeder insects.

Typical feeder insects digest their foods within 24 hours. However, Dubia roaches keep hold of it for up to three days.

Therefore bearded dragons have more nutrients when they eat since they have consumed more. Not just that, but these roaches have special digestive enzymes and bacteria that break down things that carnivores can’t.

So essentially, these roaches unlock nutrients that the bearded dragons can’t otherwise get.

Why Dubia Roaches Are Better than Crickets

Unlike crickets, Dubia roaches won’t fight back or bite (hooray!), which means that your reptiles are safe during feeding time! However, there are more reasons that Dubia roaches are better than crickets. See below.

Crickets Smell!

Firstly, crickets smell bad. It’s a little like smelling rotting flesh. However, unlike roaches that live up to two years, crickets only live nine weeks and dehydrate easily.

Crickets are smelly, they could also escape. Mostly, they are aggressive and might hurt your Beardie.

Crickets Jump!

Secondly, crickets jump and can easily escape from your beardies enclosure and make a home for themselves in your home! The last thing you want is crickets jumping on your head while watching TV!

Other Benefits of Dubia Roaches

These benefits aren’t to do with your pet – instead, they’re to do with you!

Other feeder insects can be noisy (like crickets) or smell bad. Moreover, they don’t often escape as long as they’re appropriately contained (they can’t climb smooth surfaces), and if you lose one, they will usually die rather than reproduce in your home.

They need a tight container like a plastic bin containing water, harborage material, and food in a dark, warm location.

Things to Consider when Using Dubia Roaches for Bearded Dragons

As with any food source, you need to ensure that these insects aren’t any longer than the space between your bearded dragon’s eyes.

Measuring food in this manner will prevent your beardie from trying to eat something that may be too large. Always using the right size Dubia roaches will ensure that your bearded dragon stays safe.

Where to Source Dubia Roaches?

There are lots of places you can find Dubia roaches as they’re so popular. You’ll likely be able to find them in your local pet store or local exotic pet retailer.

It’s even possible to source them online! Just make sure that they have live arrival guaranteed.

You can gut load them yourself or buy Dubia roaches already gut-loaded.

How Many Dubia Roaches?

If you’re wondering how many roaches are a good number, this depends on your bearded dragon’s age. Unlike crickets, of which they’ll eat dozens, you’ll find Dubia roach sizes vary.

You can feed adult males between three and five adult roaches every two to three days.

Breeding Dubia Roaches

If Dubia roaches have won you over, it is possible to breed Dubia roaches and create your own Dubia colony.

All you need is a container, a shallow feeding bowl, and a shallow bowl for water or water crystals. The water bowl should be shallow as these cockroaches tend to drown!

It would be best if you tried to keep them in a humid environment as this will mimic their natural habitat. The humidity level should be around 60%.

Choosing Your Gut Loading Foods

Breeding roaches can be beneficial and cost-effective. For example, you can tailor gut loading to your feeder insects.

When deciding on gut loading, you must always use organic produce because non-organic fruits and vegetables might have traces of pesticides lingering. These will kill insects, which you don’t want!

Gut Loaded Dubia Roaches

If you notice that your bearded dragon has lots of uneaten food items, why not try feeding these to your roaches!

Your beardie will be consuming this when they eat the feeder insect! They particularly like anything with natural sugars. Just make sure to avoid giving them things that bearded dragons should have.

What Not to Feed Dubia Roaches

There are some things you shouldn’t feed Dubia roaches. For example, dog or cat food. Meat is a no-no, too, because when roaches overeat protein, it is converted to uric acid, which can be harmful to bearded dragons.

One thing Dubia roaches love is citrus fruit. However, ideally, they shouldn’t have this more than once a week because the acid in the fruit is harsh on their system.

Final Thoughts on Are Dubia Roaches the Best Live Food for Bearded Dragons?

Bearded dragons that don’t already eat Dubia roaches (Blaptica Dubia) will undoubtedly benefit when added.

It doesn’t matter if you decide to include Dubia roaches as secondary or primary feeder insects or just as a treat now and then. However you choose to use your roach chow, your pet beardie is sure to love it!

We think these are best as primary feeder food sources, but it’s down to the individual.

With a well-sourced, gut-loaded Dubia roach, you’re giving your bearded dragon the best chance of a healthy life because bearded dragons are omnivores and need plant matter for their excellent health.

A Dubia roach gut-loaded with vegetables is perfect for them!

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