Dubia Roaches for Bearded Dragons – Why do BD's love Dubias?
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September 18, 2019 at 8:43 pm #1908
Why do Bearded Dragons Love Dubia Roaches?
Dubia roaches for bearded dragons are one of the most common feeder insects, and this is for good reason. Dubia roaches contain lots of protein, which helps young bearded dragons grow. They also contain a well-balanced nutrient profile and are fairly active insects. They will keep both you and your bearded dragon entertained. Keep reading to find out why dubia roaches are a bearded dragon favorite!
For Young Dragons… It’s all about Protein.
Young bearded dragons grow at an extraordinary rate. To keep up with this growth, they need a high level of protein. In the wild, a young bearded dragon typically eats insects, especially termites. Termites are much harder to raise in captivity compared to dubia roaches. The smallest dubia roach nymphs, typically around ⅛ of an inch when they are born, make a great termite substitute.
Generally speaking, you should never offer your bearded dragon any prey that is larger than the space between its eyes. Offering prey too large can cause impaction, a condition where food items get lodged in the gut. One reason that dubia roaches are great is that they are born at a size small enough for most juvenile bearded dragons. And, they can keep up with the dragon as it grows!
As your dragon grows, you can start to feed it larger and larger roaches. Dubia roaches can get up to 2 inches long, which will feed the largest bearded dragons. However, as your bearded dragon matures, it will need less live prey and more leafy greens and vegetables. Since dubia roaches live for over a year, you can make sure you always have them on hand for when your lizard needs a little extra protein.
Bearded Dragons Need Other Nutrients, Too!
Another important aspect of dubia roaches that makes them a great feeder is that their exoskeleton does not increase its thickness significantly as the insects mature. This is typically measured by the ratio of the protein chitin to the insect’s overall mass. Chitin is the main protein involved in forming an exoskeleton. The chitin-to-mass ratio typically increases with age in most insects.
But, adult and nymph dubia roaches have almost the same ratio of chitin-per-mass. This means that your bearded dragon will easily be able to capture, chew, and digest dubia roaches as the lizard gets older. Other feeder insects, such as crickets and mealworms, tend to increase the amount of chitin they produce as they get larger. This can lead to poor digestion and even impaction. Dubia roaches have one of the thinnest exoskeletons of all feeder insects, ensuring that your lizard gets a very high meat-to-exoskeleton ratio.
Dubia roaches also have slightly more energy per unit mass, as compared to discoid roaches and crickets. This means that you can feed fewer dubia roaches for the same amount of energy your lizard receives. Gut impaction is also caused by overfeeding. Bearded dragons will be satisfied with a smaller meal of dubia roaches compared to most other feeder insects, meaning they will be less likely to suffer from impaction.
Dubia roaches have many other important nutrients, like fats, minerals, calcium, and phosphorous, which are essential to your bearded dragon’s health. Roaches, in general, have a great profile of protein-to-fat, and dubia roaches are among the best.
Stimulate Natural Behaviors!
Beyond nutrition, one of the most important dietary considerations is allowing your bearded dragon to show natural behaviors. Hunting and capturing insects is an extremely stimulating activity for a hungry dragon. Not only is it good for your bearded dragon, but it is fascinating to watch!
Dubia roaches are fairly active, but cannot fly, bite, or jump. This means that they will run from your dragon, but are not great at escaping or finding places to hide within your lizard’s cage. They also cannot bite or harm your dragon. For young dragons, putting dubia roaches in a shallow, slick bowl is a great way to teach the young lizard how to capture insects.
But, Dubia Roaches Are Not Perfect…
While dubia roaches offer great protein, a thin exoskeleton, and allow plenty of opportunities for your bearded dragon to show natural behaviors, they are not perfect. Like other feeder insects, they often lack the calcium and vitamin A most insectivores need in their diet.
However, this simple deficiency can be avoided. First, it’s a good idea to use a calcium and vitamin A insect dust before feeding. Much like buying vitamin-enriched cereal for your kids, this ensures that your lizard will receive the calcium and vitamin A as they feed. This can also be accomplished by gut-loading your dubia roaches with calcium-rich vegetables, such as collard greens or watercress.
Since bearded dragons are omnivorous, you can also ensure they get enough calcium by offering a wide variety of leafy greens, vegetables, and small amounts of fruit. It is also advisable to offer a diversity of insects, which is common in a wild bearded dragon diet. This may include crickets, superworms, mealworms, beetle larvae, and even baby mice. Pinky mice can be especially useful if you suspect your lizard has a calcium or vitamin A deficiency.
Why You Will ALSO Love Dubia Roaches…
Your bearded dragon will definitely love chasing, catching, and eating dubia roaches. They have a well-balanced nutrient profile. With greens, vegetables, and fruit, they can certainly meet the nutritional needs of your dragon. However, dubia roaches are not only great for your dragon. They can also be great for YOU, too!
As a feeder, dubia roaches are available in sizes ranging from ¼ inch to 2 inches. Dubia roaches cannot climb, nor can they fly. This means that they are easy to keep contained. Further, roaches can live for well over a year, meaning you can keep a small colony to slowly feed out to your reptiles. Dubia roaches are also notoriously easy to breed, meaning you could start your own colony and have a steady supply of roaches available on any occasion. Unlike crickets, superworms, or mice, dubia roaches are not stinky and are relatively clean insects. As long as you keep their container free of rotting food, the maintenance and upkeep are minimal!
- This topic was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by CritterDepot.
- This topic was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by CritterDepot.