Many reptile owners are concerned with feeding their pets the best reptile food possible. Because of this, many worry about doing it right. Recently, we’ve been fielding a lot of questions about feeder insect safety. If safety isn’t something you’ve considered when it comes to feeding your beardie, gecko, or other reptiles – read on! We may have the answers you’ve been searching for.
Reptile Food 101: What to Feed Your Bearded Dragon
Your pet’s diet should be based on their species, size, and individual health requirements. Because of this, we can’t recommend a one size fits all approach to feeding your pet. Ultimately, a veterinarian is your best resource when formulating your pet reptile’s meal plan.
Let’s take a bearded dragon, for example. According to Reptile Magazine, a healthy diet for your beardie should include:
- Feeder insects. Dubia roaches are an excellent source of nutrition that will ignite their natural predatory instincts. Read more about the nutritional value of dubias in our blog, Why Dubias? 6 Reasons Why Dubias are the Ultimate Feeder Insect.
- Vegetables and fruits. Focus on leafy greens like kale, spinach, and dandelion greens and treat them with apples, carrots, squash, mango, peaches, and strawberries in moderation.
- Supplements. Dragons are known for having issues with calcium deficiency, so supplementing with a bioavailable calcium powder is a great way to go. You can also focus on serving your beardie high-calcium feeders like dubia roaches to help solve this issue. If you suspect your bearded dragon may be deficient in essential vitamins and minerals, read our blog, Top 5 Signs You May Have a Malnourished Bearded Dragon, to get some answers.
If you’ve raised bearded dragons, you know how picky they can be when it comes to mealtime. To learn some excellent tactics for getting your picky beardie to eat, read our blog, Encouraging Picky Eaters with Dubia Roaches.
Could Reptile Food Hurt Your Pet?
The ultimate source of nutrition for a growing reptile is feeder insects, dubia roaches ranking among the best options. But did you know that some feeders can actually harm your pet? Here are three critical things you need to know to protect your beloved beardies, geckos, and more:
- Get the size right. If a feeder insect is too giant for your reptile, they may have trouble swallowing it, creating a choking hazard.
- Some feeders bite. This includes the ever-popular cricket. Crickets not only carry the risk of biting your pet (and you) but they also have been known to be parasite vectors. If you choose to feed crickets, mice, or other animals that bite to your exotic pet, it’s a good idea to do so only under supervision. (We’ll share a story that illustrates why in just a bit.)
- Wild bugs are a whole different problem. Wild bugs aren’t appropriate reptile food. Here’s why: wild insects can pick up toxic fertilizers and other chemicals when crawling around your yard. If your dragon chomps down on a chemical-laden bug, it could make them severely sick or, even worse – cause them to die. Read more about the difference between wild cockroaches and feeder dubia roaches in our blog, Battle of the Bugs: Dubia Roaches VS Cockroaches.
Feeder Insect Tragedy: The Meal That Bit Back
We mentioned that crickets are known for being biters, but this story from Aster, an employee at The Bug Shed, takes it to a whole new level:
“My 5th grade class had a tree frog as our class pet, and his main food source was crickets. One Thursday before a 3-day weekend, the teacher dumped a BUNCH of live crickets into the frog enclosure, so she wouldn’t have to come in to feed him over the holiday. When she arrived back to the classroom on Monday, she was horrified to find that the crickets had ganged up on the poor froggy – leaving nothing but a skeleton.”
The lesson of this story: dubia roaches are a much safer reptile food than crickets because they don’t bite back.
How to Pick the Perfect Size Dubia Roaches for Your Reptile
Now that you know precisely why dubias are one of the safest (and most nutritious) feeder insects for your reptile, we would like to teach you how to choose the right size for your scaly friends. Don’t worry – it’s actually SUPER easy.
When choosing the right-sized dubias for your pet, always make sure they are no bigger than the space between their eyes. This safeguard will prevent choking and suffocation.
When ordering from The Bug Shed, we make reptile food safety easier than ever by offering six sizes of dubias to choose from.
Our dubia roach size options:
Order Your Dubias Today!
No matter the size of your pet reptile, we have dubias that are perfectly (and safely) sized for them. If you’re ready to place your order, just click the link below, and we’ll get to packing your order right away!