Are you looking at feeding your bearded dragon Dubia roaches?
Do you wonder how many of these insects a bearded dragon should eat?
Dubia roaches have remained an excellent choice for bearded dragon insect food, and they have gained more popularity over the recent years.
Still, as you look into them, you probably notice they’re different from the standard crickets.
And this may have you wondering:
How many roaches should a bearded dragon eat?
A bearded dragon can eat 3-5 Dubia roaches per day at around a 2″ size. Juvenile and baby bearded dragons can eat a lot more in one day at multiple feedings from 25-50 per day as long as the size is smaller than the space between their eyes.
This answer is over-simplified; however, read on to get a complete picture.
Table of Contents
What Is A Good Bearded Dragon Diet?
A functional bearded dragon’s diet changes depending on its age, consisting of two main parts.
To better understand how Dubia roaches fit in, we need to look briefly at the beardy diet overall.
Bearded dragons get their nutrients and calories from two main areas:
Protein / live food
This category is for insects, which include the Dubia roach.
Insects provide much of the calorie intake for bearded dragons.
The proteins also provide fats for mass gain and have higher amounts of calcium and water, vital for a healthy bearded dragon.
Some of the insects are high in fat.
Too many of these will spoil your bearded dragon and throw off their nutrient systems, making them deficient in certain areas.
Proteins are essential throughout the life of a bearded dragon but become less of a part of adulthood.
Baby and juvenile bearded dragons need to eat a lot of protein and insects to gain weight and grow, so they can defend themselves better.
And speaking of weight, here is our post on helping bearded dragons gain weight if your pet is struggling to do so.
Greens consist of fruits, vegetables, and salads.
These foods provide many of the needed vitamins for a healthy life.
Young beardies should get this, but the greens become essential in the diet of adult bearded dragons.
We have a great post covering bearded dragon salads, vegetables, and fruit if you want a list of options they can eat.
The frequency of feedings changes as the bearded dragon ages.
Younger ones should be fed daily and often multiple times per day.
Adult bearded dragons are fed much less, and the goal for adult bearded dragon diets is based on the week rather than the day.
Here is a quick chart for your reference on how much to feed a bearded dragon when.
30-80 insects total
|3-5 feeding times per
30-80 insects total
|Two feeding times
30-80 insects total
|One feeding time per
total per week
|One day salad,
one day insect, one day nothing, and repeat
Note: These numbers for insects differ slightly based on the insect you feed them, although the table is based on crickets.
For other insects, check out the best insects for bearded dragons.
- Has more protein than any other insect feeder insect used for reptile food.
- Dubia roaches can't fly, climb smooth surfaces
- Gut loaded and ready to go
Why Are Dubia Roaches Good?
With an excellent understanding of the bearded dragon diet, we can see how the Dubia roach fits into the reptile’s feeding.
From a pure taste perspective, bearded dragons seem to love the taste of these insects.
This makes them an excellent choice for when you need to feed your pet quickly or it appears to be reluctant to eat.
It’s rare for a beardie to turn down one of these roaches.
On top of the taste, these insects also trigger the bearded dragon’s eating instincts like crazy.
With some insects which are mainly immobile, your pet may not be interested.
It may not even recognize the insect as food.
But the Dubia roach is quite active and visually striking (or, as my wife says: gross).
Beardies will lock onto them and enjoy the “hunt” while they eat.
The biggest nutritional goal of live food and insects is to get protein.
We call their category proteins in most bearded dragon diet language.
The Dubia roach avoids the problem of other cheaper and fattier insects, which are moderate in protein but high in fat.
Dubias are high in protein at around 50% protein.
This means the bearded dragon is getting a lot of protein from one easy package.
This protein ratio closely matches what experts notice in the natural diets of bearded dragons in the Australian wild.
Many experts suggest Dubia roaches are the closest we can currently get to the natural diet of the beardy.
Fat is good for bearded dragons in moderation.
The problem with many insects is how they’re high in fat and yet lower in protein and other nutrients.
The Dubia Roach has moderate fat content, but the higher protein and large amounts of other nutrients make it at an almost ideal ratio.
When you think about all the vitamins and nutrients a bearded dragon needs, safely assume you will get most of those from greens and supplements while the insects provide the protein and fat.
But the Dubia roach is the exception to this rule.
Compared to other feeder insects, the Dubia roach has 80% more calcium. Feeding these to bearded dragons will lower their chances of metabolic bone disease.
As for vitamins A and D, you can easily dust the roaches with supplements to increase the content.
This isn’t common with other insects.
No matter how balanced a diet of insects and greens you give your bearded dragon, it should still get some supplements.
Living in captivity requires it.
But there are two main ways to get the supplements.
The most common and most natural is to use a sprinkle supplement.
Just dust the top of the food (insect or green), and your pet will get some extra nutritional benefits.
The other method is gut loading.
This method requires more work, but it’s much more effective.
With gut loading, you feed the insects a particular type of food the day before your beardy eats them.
This food packs its systems with more calcium and other nutrients.
The best way to get supplements is to have the nutrients processed in the feeders before your reptile gets it.
But most insects can’t be gut-loaded effectively.
Crickets are the most common ones that can.
However, Dubia roaches can be gut-loaded with ease using the same technique as the standard cricket.
These make these nutritious not-so-little bugs even more impactful.
On top of this, gut loading Dubia roaches are even easier than crickets. They love sugars.
Give them fruits, vegetables, and cereals, and they’ll happily chow these goodies down. You can even feed Dubia roaches bananas, apples, and oranges.
The best part? They can hold the nutrients in their systems for up to 3 days, more than the crickets’ one day.
You’re probably thinking: Man, Dubia roaches sound perfect. I’m never going to use another insect!
While Dubia roaches are one of the best choices for bearded dragons, there are a few downsides to using them.
Dubia roaches usually cost quite a bit more than other feeder insects.
This is especially the case when compared to over-abundant cricket.
For those on a budget, you don’t need the Dubia, but I do recommend having some available at times to help boost your pet’s nutrition.
Dubia roaches are just not as common as other insects like mealworms and crickets.
You may not be able to walk into a pet store and buy some Dubia roaches.
However, purchasing online is reasonably straightforward, but you’ll need some time for the order to come in.
They can even be bought on Amazon from companies like Terrarium Supply Company.
Just make sure you buy the right size for your bearded dragon.
Most insects we use for bearded dragons aren’t too bad for us (the humans) to handle.
Dubia roaches do have the potential to “bite,” which is irritating.
Compared to some mild insects, you may not want to handle and care for these to keep them alive for your bearded dragon.
Along the same lines, if your bearded dragon isn’t actively hunting and eating the Dubia roaches, they should be removed from the tank.
If the insect feels threatened (and by a much larger predator, who wouldn’t?), it could bite and hurt the beardy.
Still, when everything is said and done, we recommend these roaches without hesitation.
They’re healthy, tasty, and closest to the beardy’s natural food.
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How Many Dubia Roaches To Feed A Bearded Dragon?
Dubia roaches usually end up being larger than most other insects often fed to bearded dragons.
But our lizards can handle them.
For this reason, on protein days, you should feed a beardy 3-5 Dubia roaches of the 2″ size.
You don’t have to use only this size of an insect or even this type.
But if you were feeding using Dubias exclusively for a meal, this is what you may wish to aim for.
The best way to feed, though, is to give the beardy as many insects as it will eat in a 10-15 minute window.
How Many Dubia Roaches To Feed A Baby Bearded Dragon?
Baby bearded dragons need to eat a lot more protein in their meals than their adult counterparts.
A baby bearded dragon could eat 25-50 Dubia roaches in one day.
It’s important to note how this is over a single day.
While adult bearded dragons will eat only once per day, a baby should be fed 3-5 times per day depending on its exact age (use the reference chart from earlier for help).
However, don’t use the same 2″ size as babies.
A ¼” size of Dubia is recommended for baby bearded dragons.
As they get a little older and bigger, you’ll want to increase the size to ½” Dubias, but the 25-50 amount stays around the same.
Warning! Always make sure the insects or food you use are smaller than the space between the bearded dragon’s eyes.
How To Feed A Bearded Dragon Dubia Roaches
Feeding a bearded dragon Dubia roaches is just like feeding it any other insect.
First, you need to add any supplements you want to use.
If you’re using a sprinkle one, put it on.
For those choosing the more effective gut loading, give the roaches their food 1-3 days beforehand.
Next, you need to carve out 10-15 minutes of your day to pay attention to feeding your pet.
Don’t do too many things during this time.
Besides, this is an excellent time to build trust and bond with your bearded dragon.
Now it’s time to feed your bearded dragon.
Put one of the appropriate-sized roaches in the tank in front of the beardy’s mouth.
Remember always to choose an insect smaller than the space between the reptile’s eyes.
Once the bearded dragon has eaten the roach, give it another one.
Do this one at a time.
Keep feeding it until the 10-15 minutes has passed, or your beardy stops eating.
After this has happened, remove all food from the tank.
As we said before, expect to feed an adult around 3-5 roaches in one sitting.
Also, expect to feed a baby bearded dragon 5-10 roaches at each 3-5 meals per day.
Warning! Only use live insects.
Never feed your pet a dead one, even if it died only recently.
Meal Math: Wrapping Up the Roach Feeding Equation
Now you know how many roaches a bearded dragon should eat.
3-5 large ones for adults per day is good, while 25-50 small ones per day for young bearded dragons are just right.
The Dubia roach is packed with protein, nutrients and is easily gut-loaded.
The only reason you shouldn’t use these occasionally is that it costs a little more and may be harder to get a hold of.
But you won’t be going wrong picking this insect as a feeder.
Your beardy will thank you for it!