How Many Dubia Roaches For Bearded Dragon?
Beardies are omnivores with a big appetite! They love to eat and do it with such passion that it’s fun to watch. Typically, these reptiles will readily gobble down anything from dead crickets to wax worms to vegetables to roach chow.
Bearded dragon owners looking for a highly nutritious diet for their pets should consider adding insects to the menu. More specifically, Dubia roaches should top the list of insects for your bearded dragon because they contain just about everything your pet requires to stay healthy, happy, and active.
But exactly how many Dubia roaches should you put on your beardie’s plate? Should you feed the same amount of Dubia roaches to every bearded dragon regardless of age? This guide serves up answers, so keep reading.
Recommended Dubia Roaches for Bearded Dragon
Indeed Dubia roaches are great for bearded dragon food, and we’ll get into the benefits in a bit. But you shouldn’t feed a baby or juvenile bearded dragon the same amount of roaches as a full-grown bearded dragon.
It is a common mistake for a new bearded dragon owner to assume that mature adult bearded dragons should eat more insects than younger dragons. But the opposite is true.
The diet of full-grown bearded dragons should consist of approximately 80% plants and only 20% insects. Conversely, younger bearded dragons should be fed meals composed of 20% plants and 80% insects.
Baby bearded dragons need more protein and fat than older dragons do, which explains the difference in the plant to insect ratio. Dubia roaches have higher fat content than other insects like crickets, meaning a full-grown lizard may become obese if eats too many roaches.
Here is a specific breakdown of how many Dubia cockroaches you should offer your pet depending on its age.
Baby Bearded Dragon
Pet dragons one to three months old should consume around 30 to 50 micro Dubia roaches per day. Ensure that you choose nymphs or roaches measuring approximately 1/4 inches to meet the nutritional requirement of these baby lizards.
Feed your baby bearded dragon multiple times a day. Ideally, you should spread the recommended number of roaches over three to five meals. If this is not feasible for you because of your schedule, it is okay to offer a Dubia roach twice a day. That said, keep in mind that your pet may not grow as fast as it should if you only feed it roaches twice a day.
Juvenile Bearded Dragon
Juvenile bearded dragons between the ages of three and nine months old will need around 25 to 50 Dubia roaches in a day. For these younger bearded dragons, offer medium-sized roaches of around half an inch, and feed them about three to five times per day.
Full-Grown Bearded Dragon
If your bearded dragon is older than nine months, consider offering around three to five adult Dubia roaches nearly every day. Feed your pet with adult Dubia roaches with a size of about one to two inches. It is best to spread out the number throughout two to three feeding times in a day instead of giving your pet all the roaches at once.
Keep in mind that feeding your full-grown bearded dragon with these insects all week long may not be a healthy choice. Consider skipping one or two days a week to reduce the risk of obesity.
Dietary Needs for Bearded Dragons
The age of your beardie plays a big role in its nutritional needs. The foods that make up the pet’s diet should change as your lizard companion grows older. A change in feeding behavior shouldn’t cause concern as it is normal with bearded dragons as their needs change as they age.
Both baby and juvenile bearded dragons have extremely high growth and metabolism rates, which is why it is important to offer lots of foods with high calcium and protein every day.
Without these nourishing foods, it can be difficult for young pets to grow well and enjoy robust health. Inadequate amounts of protein and calcium-rich foods can lead to health problems such as metabolic bone disease.
If you adopt a young bearded dragon, its diet must consist mainly of insects. Such diets will provide the required fat and protein to support quick growth. In addition, they need lots of food to prevent a delay in reaching sexual maturation.
On the other hand, mature bearded dragons need a different diet to remain healthy as they grow older. Their diet should consist primarily of plants.
Although bearded dragons are omnivores, their feeding habits will gradually progress from mostly insects and small rodents to mostly fruits and vegetables.
Nutritional Value of Dubia Roaches for Bearded Dragon
Dubia roaches pack a lot of nutritional value and are usually superior to other feeder insects for reptiles. In addition to this, these roaches have a gut-loading digestive track that holds nutrients for up to three days. They can provide extra nutrients for your pet dragon, even if it seems the lizard isn’t getting enough nutrients from its regular meals.
Besides protein, fat, and calcium, here are other lesser-known nutritional benefits of giving your pet lizard these feeder insects.
Vitamins and Minerals
Many common feeder insects, including mealworm larvae, giant mealworm larvae, super worms, and waxworms, are nutritionally lacking. None of these insects offer the number of vitamins and minerals available in Dubia roaches.
Feeder insects have chitin – a fibrous and indigestible substance that makes up the insect’s exoskeletons. While reptiles need to have some chitin, consuming too much of the substance can lead to digestive issues. Unfortunately, most feeders have chitin in quantities that can be potentially problematic for bearded dragons and other reptiles.
Thankfully, Dubia roaches have the least amount of chitin, measuring only about 3.5% of their total body weight. This chitin level is significantly lower than waxworm’s 13% or locust with 20%.
Balanced Food Source
One of the greatest difficulties with offering feeder insects is finding one that provides a complete base food source. This challenge is the main reason reptile owners often have to supplement nutrients using methods like gut-loading and dusting.
However, using these methods can be tasking in addition to requiring special knowledge. Fortunately, Dubia roaches offer all-around nutrition compared to other feeder insects. Their nutritional profile makes them one of the most balanced food sources for your pet dragon.
Are Dubia Roaches Illegal?
No doubt, Dubia roaches are highly nutritious and great for bearded dragons. However, before you get them for your pet, make sure the feeder insects are allowed where you live.
Dubia roaches are illegal in some states like Florida and Louisiana. Other states, including California, Alabama, and Hawaii, may have some prohibitions or restrictions on the insects. Also, you cannot legally have these insects in Canada.
You may need a special permit in some regions to have Dubia roaches. For this reason, it is important to find out what the laws are in your area before getting the insects, so you don’t get on the wrong side of the law.