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If you have a reptile as your pet, you will probably be confused about its feeding habits. Animal protein is an important constituent of their diet, ensuring proper health and well being. Most of the reptile keepers culture feeder insects at home to constantly provide food for their pets, e.g. bearded dragons.
While crickets are generally used as a common food for reptiles, many people are switching to Dubia Roaches, a type of cockroach, now because of their inherent advantages over the former. Crickets can be a nuisance to the homeowners, as they are noisy, smelly, and prone to escaping every time you open the lid of the container to transfer them into the reptile cage. Further, they don’t grow much, can get dehydrated easily, and are also deficient in nutrients.
Let’s discuss 10 key reasons why roaches, also known as Argentinian wood roach, or Guyana spotted roach, can be a favorable alternative to crickets as reptile food.
They can be easily managed
Unlike crickets, whose pincers can pinch at your finger, roaches don’t bite. Although they do have chewing mandibles, the body construction of the roaches doesn’t allow those mandibles to come in contact with the finger or the reptile body. Thus, these little things are less harmless to your beloved reptile than crickets, and they won’t harm you as well.
They don’t carry disease-causing parasites
Many reptile keepers complain about their lizards getting pinworms from the crickets. It can be difficult to say if a bunch of crickets has worms unless they die and you notice the worms coming out of them. But you may be feeding them regularly to your reptile before that, right? So, it’s better to stay safe and replace the crickets with the cockroaches as a relatively healthier feeding option for your pet.
They are relatively silent
Most cricket keepers have one common complaint and that is noise. The adult crickets stridulate with their wings all the time, creating excessive noise, even when they are in the enclosure. As it can be really difficult to live with all that noise, the Dubia Roaches are a better alternative. They don’t make much noise, except the occasional rustling sound when they move around in the enclosure and feed on their roach chow.
They are highly nutritious
Be it protein, calcium, fat, or ash content, the roaches are superior to crickets in every way. They also grow throughout their lifecycle, making a satisfactory hunting option for your dragon. Protein is exceptionally important for every insect-eating reptile, and so is calcium and phosphorus.
You need to maintain a constant ratio of calcium and phosphorus in the reptile diet for maximum effect. Too much of either can neutralize the effects of the other. If you feed Dubia Roaches instead of crickets to your reptiles, you need to give a lesser amount of additional supplements, as their nutrient ratio is closer to an ideal one than that of crickets.
They don’t infest your home
There haven’t been cases of roaches infesting your home and making a nuisance of it. They rarely leave the containers, unless you bring them out to feed them to your beardie. This is because they don’t survive in a temperate climate, let alone breed.
On the other hand, crickets are known to be occasional invaders of your home. If they escape the container in some way, they may take refuge in other places inside your home and breed there under favorable conditions. They are attracted to warmth and can find their new home in your kitchen or near the water heater. Sounds scary? It’s best to opt for the roaches, as they are not up to such a nuisance.
You can tear them easily
You don’t have to take many precautions while storing the roaches in glass or plastic containers. While male cockroaches do have wings, they can’t get much altitude and will even die if exposed to the temperatures in which most reptiles are kept. A smooth-sided container will be best to store these special cockroaches without worrying about them escaping.
They don’t smell like crickets
When crickets die, they exude a foul odor that’s absolutely intolerable. As they live fewer days than roaches, they die more frequently, thus making it quite smelly. Hence, cockroaches are a better option, especially in terms of hygiene, over the crickets.
They don’t require much maintenance
The roaches can be cultured easily inside the home. All they need is a certain amount of water, which they can obtain from water crystals or even carrots. Their feeding habits are also simpler. They will eat anything except potatoes. You can even invest in some roach chow from a pet store and feed it to the cockroaches. They just love it!
They grow slowly and steadily
Unlike crickets, Dubia Roaches grow slowly and take a considerable amount of time to reach their fully-matured size. Hence, you have ample time to feed them to your dragon. On the other hand, crickets grow faster and reach quite a large size within a short time, thus making it impossible to use them as a feeder. Most insect-eating reptiles like bearded dragons shouldn’t feed on an insect that has attained a large size.
You can store them out of sight
Many people may find these cockroaches to be visually unpleasant. But the best thing is, you don’t need to keep them in the daylight or in open areas, where people may see them. Roaches do best if they are kept out of sight, in a dark, warm place. You can keep the container in a closet or inside a room you don’t use much. They will be happier there, unable to freak your visitors out.
A few FAQs about Dubia Roaches
While most people, who feed crickets to their reptiles despite all oddities, do it because they are easily available. If you are one of them and wish to switch to roaches, the following information will help you.
Where can you get the roaches?
You can either get them at a reputable brick and mortar pet store or online. It’s best to buy them online, as it’s more hassle-free. This apart, it isn’t always possible to know all the stores that sell roaches in plenty.
What size should you buy?
You should never feed your beardie an insect that’s larger than the space between their eyes. Keep this in mind while ordering the cockroaches as well.
Is breeding roaches easier than buying?
It depends on you entirely. If you don’t have the time to breed the insects, buy, and if you think you’ll do both to maintain a constant supply of food for your dragon, you can do that too.
Wrapping it up
The roaches are growing in popularity as feeder insects because of their relatively easier and harmless ways. While crickets can be a nuisance to most reptile keepers, roaches are quite the opposite in terms of their behavior, nutritional content, size, and hygiene. So if you have a beardie and you wish to switch to cockroaches from crickets, you can’t make a better decision for your dragon.
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