Having a collection of reptiles also means a collection of foods to feed them. We stick with reptiles that tend to eat the same things to make it easier. Below is information on all the feeders I have used. This information is all based on my personal experience and general facts about each feeder.
Blaptica Dubia ( Dubia Roach )
Due to the climate in our state this is a non-infesting species of tropical roach. Yea it may sound creepy having a large bin of roaches in your home, but these are here on purpose and do not look like the common roach. They look more like beetles. So do not confuse them with the common german roach (Blattella Germanica) you see infesting peoples homes in just about every state.
These guys are slow breeders but grow to almost 2 inches in length and are a superior feeder for reptiles due to their nutrient content. Below are a few of the Pros and Cons for the Dubia Roach.
- No noises, except for the sound of them crawling around in the bin.
- No odor, unless you leave uneaten food in the bin.
- Low Maintenance.
- Slow breeding.
- Not very active feeders. They tend to stand very still when scared or run to hide under cover.
- Startup costs are expensive.
Gryllodes Sigillatus ( Banded Cricket )
I used to use these guys as a staple feeder, however I don’t order them very much anymore because my dubia colony seems to be keeping up production for my feeding requirements. The Banded Cricket is not as widely sold as its cousin the “Acheta Domestica” but they have some slight advantages over them. However the Dubia is still superior for many reasons.
As with any feeder there are some Pros and Cons
- Active climbers and jumpers
- Odor isn’t as bad as the “Acheta Domestica”
- Lifespan – They seem to live a bit longer than “Acheta Domestica”
- Still has an odor
- Still not a long lifespan
Acheta Domestica ( Common Brown House Cricket )
These guys are the most commonly sold cricket for feeders. Their nutrient content as well as the pros and cons are about the same as their cousin the Banded Cricket. They are easy to buy and not very expensive to order in bulk. You can generally get a bulk order of a few thousand for about 50.00 with overnight shipping.
- Active climbers and jumpers
- Short lifespan
Tenebrionidae Larva ( Mealworms )
Mealworms are small white/yellowish worms, they are not very nutritious and have a semi chitinous outer shell. Because of their nutrient content and their chitinous shell, they are not to be used as a staple feeder.
They are fattening and because of their chitin content, they are hard to digest. The people that are a bit more educated in this hobby know when and how to use mealworms. Generally they are used as a fun treat or to help end a hunger strike.
The biggest problem with mealworms is that pet stores tend to use them as a constant feeder. It’s like raising your kids on Mc. Donald’s for every meal of the day. I know some of the local big chains are notorious for this. I have seen them feed crickets twice a day, but leave a big old fattening bowl of mealies in the cage 24/7. So you know that the animal is feeding on the mealies all day.
- Aids in ending hunger strikes
- Good as occasional treats
- Hard to digest
- Not very nutrient rich
“You are what you eat”
Ever wonder why there are government programs that monitor the food you consume? Because whatever is in the food you eat, will affect your body in ways you never think about. The nutrients, chemicals and everything else your food contains will be absorbed when you eat it. Be it plant or animal.
The same thing applies to the foods we feed our pets. Plant or Animal, the nutrients that sustain it will be passed to the consumer. So by gut loading my feeders with a healthy diet I am making them even more nutritious for my reptiles to consume.
Since I primarily feed from the Dubias, I gut load them with a similar diet to what they would receive in nature. Grains, Fruits and Vegetables. Their constant staple is oatmeal and bran flakes (wheat). Then they are given fruits and vegetables to provide variety as well as water content. Mustard Greens, Carrots and Oranges. Oranges are an absolute favorite and funnily enough Oranges seem to increase their reproduction.
Fruits and Vegetables
Most lizards and reptiles will eat some sort of vegetables and fruits as part of their diet. Luckily the species I keep can eat the same fruits and vegetables. This makes it easier to shop for them.
I mainly offer them Mustard Greens and Dandelion Greens as they are considered a healthy staple green.
As for fruits, I offer on occasion, Apples, Pears, Strawberries and Bananas.
Veiled Chameleons don’t exactly require vegetables or fruits. They will eat them sometimes but their main diet is insects. As for Bearded Dragons, they tend to require less protein as they age and will slowly change to eating a heavier diet of fruits and vegetables.
So really the vegetables and fruits are for the Beardie.