Dubia roaches vs crickets: which feeder insect is right for your pet?
If you’re a proud owner of a reptile or amphibian, you know how important it is to provide them with a balanced and nutritious diet. One key decision you’ll face is choosing the right feeder insect for your pet. In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of two popular feeder insects – dubia roaches vs crickets – to help you make an informed choice.
Crickets: The Classic Feeder Insect with Some Drawbacks
Crickets have long been a staple feeder insect for reptiles and amphibians, but they come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Some good reasons to feed crickets include:
- High Protein Content: Crickets are rich in protein (66%). All animals need some protein in their diet. Higher levels such as are found in crickets are especially beneficial for the growth and development of juvenile reptiles. However it’s important to remember that too high a protein percentage can lead to gout in older animals.
- Enrichment and Exercise: Chasing and catching live crickets can provide mental and physical stimulation for your pets, mimicking their natural hunting instincts.
- Availability: Crickets are readily available at most pet stores.
- Affordable: Because crickets are better known and have been used in the United States as feeder insects for decades, they tend to be an economical choice.
Potential Drawbacks of Feeding Crickets to Your Reptile:
But before you stock up on crickets, consider the following “dark side” of these popular feeder insects:
- Noisy: The sound of crickets may be lovely when you’re out in Nature. But indoors, you’d be surprised how loud they can be! And they don’t stop until dawn. If you’re a sensitive person, take note!
- Smelly: Surprising, but oh so true. Crickets are da bomb – and not in a good way.
- Challenging to keep contained: Just look at those big hind legs. These little nimjas are built to jump. Catch them if you can, before they scurry under your couch!
- Short lifespan: While cricket feeder insects can live up to 120 days under ideal circumstances, the average is only about a month. And it’s not uncommon for them to die within a few days due to the stresses of shipping and storing them.
- They bite. This is rare and usually not a problem, but still you should be aware of this food safety hazard and avoid leaving crickets in your pet’s cage unsupervised.
- Parasites: Crickets are the #1 source of pinworm infestations in reptiles. They have also been known to carry other parasites, including cryptosporidium and tapeworm. Parasites are not likely to be a problem with crickets raised in sanitary conditions. However it can be very hard to verify whether the crickets in your local pet store were raised properly or not.
So now that we’ve looked at some of the pros and cons of crickets, let’s see how dubia roaches vs crickets stack up.
Dubia Roaches: The Nutritious and Low-Maintenance Option
Dubia roaches, also known as orange-spotted roaches, have gained popularity among reptile and amphibian owners for several reasons:
- Nutritional Value: Dubia roaches are packed with essential nutrients, including protein, calcium, and other vitamins. They display a more balanced nutritional profile than crickets, making them a highly nutritious primary feeder insect choice for your pets.
- Low Odor and Noise: Unlike crickets, Dubia roaches are virtually odorless and silent, making them a more pleasant option for both you and your pets.
- Easy to contain: Dubia roaches can’t climb glass or smooth plastic. And they don’t jump. So in contrast to crickets, they tend to stay where you tell them to go.
- Longevity: The lifespan of dubia roaches vs crickets is much longer. Dubias are tough critters. Theycan weather periods of privation with relative ease, reducing the frequency of replacements and ensuring a more stable food source for your pets.
- Ease of Digestion: Due to their soft exoskeleton, Dubia roaches are easier for your pets to digest, reducing the risk of impaction. Dubia roaches have 40% less fiber than crickets, reducing the risk of impaction.
So What’s NOT to Like About Dubia Roaches vs Crickets?
No feeder insect is perfect. Here are a couple of things that you should consider about dubia roaches vs crickets:
- They cost more. Many reptile keepers think of dubias as “premium food”. You get what you pay for!
- They are cockroaches. Most of us have a knee-jerk “ew” reaction when we hear the word “roach.” But keep in mind that out of 4,600 species of cockroach worldwide, only about 30 like to hang out in human habitations. Dubias aren’t one of them, and they typically don’t infest! In fact, once pet owners get used to them, most agree they are actually kind of cute!
Making the Right Choice for Your Pet: Dubia Roaches vs Crickets
When deciding between Dubia roaches vs crickets as feeder insects for your pet, consider the following factors:
- Nutritional Requirements: Assess your pet’s specific dietary needs and choose the feeder insect that best meets those requirements. Remember that your pets’ needs will change as they age. For example, you might to feed more high-protein crickets when your bearded dragon is young, and switch to primarily dubias as he gets older as a gout-prevention strategy.
- Convenience: Consider factors such as odor, noise, longevity, and ease of containment to determine which option aligns with your lifestyle and preferences.
- Budget: There is absolutely no shame in adjusting your reptile’s diet to avoid straining your finances.
- Pet Preferences: Some pets may show a preference for certain feeder insects over others, so observe their reactions to different options.
Remember: Variety is Important!
Whether you opt for the nutritional benefits of Dubia roaches or the classic appeal of crickets, providing your pet with a balanced and varied diet is essential for their overall health and vitality. While you may one to choose one staple feeder insect that best meets your overall needs, your pet will benefit from supplementing other types from time to time.
In conclusion, when considering Dubia roaches vs crickets, keep in mind that they each have their own unique benefits and drawbacks as feeder insects for your pets. By carefully evaluating the specific needs of your pet and weighing the pros and cons of dubia roaches vs crickets, you can make an informed decision that promotes your pet’s health and well-being.