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Are Dubia Roaches Good for Bearded Dragons?
Getting a new pet is one of life’s greatest joys. Especially for lovers of reptiles, the process of getting to know both a new species and your new pet’s personality is a lot of fun. But it can also take a lot of work.
Reptiles can be tricky to keep in captivity, and it can be hard for newbie reptile owners to understand what is and isn’t normal. More than anything, you want to make sure your pet gets the right kind of nutrition so it can be happy and healthy for a long time.
In this article, we’ll talk about one of the most common reptile pets in the US, the bearded dragon, and one of the easiest feeder insects to keep: the dubia roach. If you’re new to bearded dragons, dubia roaches, or both, this is the perfect place to learn about both.
What Are Dubia Roaches?
The dubia roach (Blaptica dubia) [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blaptica_dubia ] is a common feeder insect. They're a highly nutritious food source for reptiles, particularly larger lizards like bearded dragons and monitor lizards.
Dubia roaches are also very easy to keep in captivity. They’re incapable of flight and are also very bad climbers. So a standard tupperware tub is sufficient for keeping them.
They’re also very temperature sensitive and highly dependent on their heat source to survive. If you have a roach colony and one does happen to escape in your house, it wouldn’t survive more than a day or so.
As far as feeding them to your pet goes, dubia roaches are fairly mobile, which is a bonus as it will help keep your bearded dragon entertained. They mature very slowly, meaning you can control the population of your feeder colony easily. And the large range of sizes they grow into gives you lots of options.
For example, if your pet is still young, you can just select smaller roaches to feed to them. As they get older, there will be larger roaches available in the colony that will be a better fit for a full-grown lizard.
Dubia Roach Nutritional Value
Here’s a quick overview of their nutrition facts
Calcium to Phosphorus ratio: 2:3
At first glance, you’ll probably notice that dubia have a high protein content, with relatively little fat compared to other insects like mealworms and superworms. This is a big plus. Their calcium to phosphorus ratio is not perfect, but this can easily be fixed by dusting or gut loading your dubia roaches.
Dubia also contain a relatively large amount of ash. Ash represents everything not commonly measured when talking about feeder insect nutrition. This includes micronutrients, minerals, and vitamins. So a higher ash content is good.
For most carnivorous or omnivorous lizards, this is a great mixture of nutrients (particularly the high protein content) to meet their needs. Although, as we’ll see, some omnivorous pets will need other food to supplement their diets.
Bearded Dragon Nutritional Needs
How does this stack up with what your bearded dragon needs? For starters, bearded dragons are omnivores. This means they need a balanced mix of protein-rich meat and veggies to stay healthy. This is particularly true in captivity. A more sedentary lifestyle (as opposed to in the wild, where bearded dragons have to be on the run to catch their food) can cause beardies to become overweight.
As a general rule of thumb, an adult bearded dragon’s diet should be 80% veggies and fruits, and 20% insects. Further, you want to make sure your beardie doesn’t get too much fat in its diet. So a high-protein insect is ideal.
As we already discussed, dubia fit this description perfectly. They’re a high-protein, low-fat insect that instinctually move, so your beardie will have a lot of fun chasing them. However, their calcium to phosphorus ratio isn’t ideal. Because beardies are omnivorous, you can supplement their diets in a few different ways to make sure they get enough calcium.
How to Supplement a Bearded Dragon’s Diet
One way to do this is with veggies. Some vegetables, like kale, collard greens, and mustard greens, have a high calcium content and are a great standard option for bearded dragon food.
You can also supplement their calcium intake by dusting their roaches in calcium powder before feeding. A combination of both these approaches will definitely ensure your beardie gets all the nutrients they need.
The Bearded Dragon Food Pyramid
Bearded dragons are great pets, but they have complex food needs. This doesn’t mean they’re tough to keep, it just means you need to have a plan to keep them healthy. By offering your bearded dragon a balanced mix of vegetables (particularly greens high in calcium and other vitamins) and a high-protein insect like dubia roaches, you can be sure they’ll stay healthy and happy. All you need now are some dubia roaches to get started!