Exotic Pets

How to Feed and Keep Dubia Roaches

Photo by GoHerping

Continuing in our series on feeder insects for insectivores, have you considered feeding your reptile or amphibian dubia roaches? They’re a great source of nutrition for your exotic pet, and they’re fairly easy to keep.

Understandably, some people are grossed out by the idea of keeping roaches in their home, but they’re actually quite easy to keep contained and cared for.

Here’s what to know about keeping dubia roaches for feeding to your herp.

Where to keep roaches

You can keep dubia roaches in a glass or plastic container, such as a storage tub. The best option is something with smooth, vertical sides so that the roaches can’t climb out of it.

Nobody wants roaches crawling around their house and reproducing (which they do quite easily). The good news is that smooth, vertical walls will keep them in. Dubia roaches cannot jump or fly, and they won’t be able to eat through plastic or glass.

Pouring dubia roaches into a container

Photo by GoHerping

Even if you think they’re gross, you can still keep roaches as feeder insects. You never have to touch them. If you need to transfer them between containers, you can literally just dump them out of one and into another.

Roaches don’t require any substrate, and they don’t need anything else in the container. However, adding a few turned over egg crates can give the roaches somewhere to hide and feel safe.

Dubia roaches in plastic container with egg crates

Photo by GoHerping

What to feed dubia roaches

Roaches are happy to eat nearly anything, but you might want to pick foods that attract fewer pests and molds. Although roaches will eat fruit, fruit is going to get moldy and attract flies quicker than less sugary options.

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Potatoes and carrots are good options that will last a little longer in the roach habitat without undesirable side effects. Potatoes left out for a while will often dry out and shrivel up. It’s still a good idea to change out the food often because any vegetable or fruit can rot and start to smell, depending on the humidity level in the environment.

Dubia roaches with a slice of potato

Photo by GoHerping

You can find premade food for feeder insects, but giving them vegetables also provides for their water needs. Also, roaches can go quite a long time without eating, but if you’re going to be keeping them for a while, feeding about once or twice a week is a good schedule.

Other dubia roach needs

Dubia roaches prefer a tropical environment, which requires some humidity and warmth. You can place a heat pad for five to ten gallon tanks beneath their container. Be careful not to raise the heat too much if you’re keeping them in plastic (you don’t want the plastic to melt).

Although the roaches can’t climb the sides of a smooth glass or plastic container, you may still want to put a lid over them. The lid can help maintain a more humid environment for the insects. Lids should either have ventilation holes or be kept only partially closed for airflow.

Follow the blog at The Tye-Dyed Iguana to learn more about insectivores and other types of exotic pets.

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