Blue-green chameleon with purple spots, crawling across a branch

Can Chameleons Eat Dubia Roaches? Creating a Balanced Chameleon Diet

Can chameleons eat Dubia roaches? Yes! Chameleons can eat Dubia roaches. Most experienced chameleon keepers encourage new chameleon keepers to include Dubia roaches as part of their chameleon’s diet because of their high nutritional content and ease of care. 

Can Chameleons Eat Dubia Roaches?

Dubia roaches are native to the hot and humid areas of Central and South America. Recently they have gained widespread popularity among insectivorous reptile keepers as a nutritious – and much less annoying – alternative to crickets as a staple feeder.

As an addition to your chameleon’s diet, Dubia roaches are an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals, especially when properly gut-loaded and dusted.

Their low fiber/chitin, high protein, and relatively balanced calcium to phosphorus ratio make them an even more attractive alternative to crickets. 

When planning your chameleon’s diet, however, it’s important that you offer a wide variety of insects. Yes, Dubia roaches are an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals, but they should not be the sole staple of your chameleon’s diet. Be sure to also include insects like:

  • Mealworms
  • Crickets
  • Black soldier Fly Larvae
  • Other roach species, like Orange Head roaches
  • Occasional treats like Hornworms and Superworms

The following chart may be helpful as you plan for more variety in your chameleon’s diet.

Chameleon Diet Nutrition Chart

Nutritional Facts

Black Soldier Fly Larvae

Mealworm

Dubia Roaches

Crickets

Moisture

64%

66%

63%

73%

Protein

17%

18%

30%

18%

Fat

11%

9%

5%

7%

Fiber

8%

2%

4%

2%

Calcium-to-Phosphorus Ratio

2:1

1:7

1:3

1:6


Where to Get Dubia Roaches for Your Pet Chameleon

Since Dubia roaches have become such a popular staple feeder among chameleon keepers, you may be wondering how you can acquire your own Dubia roaches to feed to your chameleon.

As a chameleon keeper, you have two options when it comes to keeping Dubia as a regular staple in your chameleon’s diet:

  • Establish your own colony of Dubia roaches
  • Purchase Dubia roaches online

If you’re among the many chameleon keepers who get the creepy crawlies at the thought of raising a colony of insects in your home or garage, then rest assured that you have many options for reliable online Dubia roach vendors.

As you’re shopping around for a reliable Dubia roach vendor, be sure to research what your vendor feeds their roaches. Many vendors use things like fillers and chicken feed because they’re inexpensive. The end result is Dubia roaches that are void of nutritional value.

A good Dubia roach vendor will feed their roaches highly nutritional foods like alfalfa, beet pulp, apples, and barley.

You’ll also want to make sure that the vendor you choose guarantees live delivery. Chameleons do not feed on dead insects, therefore whatever insects you feed to your chameleon need to be alive and crawling.

Pro Tip: If Dubia roaches and other insects give you the creepy-crawlies, you can always use feeder tweezers or a feeder cup rather than feeding your chameleon by hand.

How Many Dubia Roaches Should You Feed Your Chameleon?

Your chameleon’s diet will change as it grows older. When it’s under eight months old, you’ll notice that it will eat more than an adult chameleon. In fact, juvenile chameleons need to eat daily, whereas a healthy adult chameleon can go for up to two weeks without food and still be fine.

The following chameleon feeding schedule will give you a good general rule of thumb for both the frequency and quantity to feed your chameleon.

Chameleon Feeding Schedule

Stage

Age

Frequency

Amount

Baby

0-3 Months

Twice Daily

As much as it wants

Juvenile

3-8 Months

Once Daily

10-15 bugs

Sub-Adult

8-9 Months

Every Other Day

3-4 bugs

Adult

12+ Months

Every 2-3 Days

3-4 bugs


For a more in-depth discussion on feeding your chameleon, check out our article “What Do Chameleons Eat? Essential Foods for Your Chameleon’s Diet.”

Pro Tip: To slow your Dubia roaches’ rate of growth, stagger their feedings and keep their enclosure at 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Gut-Loading Your Dubia Roaches: Optimizing Your Chameleon’s Diet

You should always gut-load your Dubia roaches prior to offering them to your chameleon.

Gut-loading simply means feeding your Dubia roaches or other feeder insects nutrient-dense foods in order to increase their nutritional value for your chameleon.

When it comes to gut-loading, not all fruits and vegetables are created equal. Generally you want to gut-load your Dubia roaches with high-calcium fruits and vegetables. The goal here is that the calcium will make its way into your chameleon through the insect.

Some lower-calcium fruits and vegetables can also be fed to your Dubia roaches, but your focus should always be on the higher calcium gut loaders.

Gut-Loading Chart for Optimizing Your Chameleon’s Diet


Excellent Sources of Calcium

Good Sources of Calcium

Options to Avoid

Alfalfa

Sweet Potato

Potato

Papaya 

Apples

Cabbage

Mustard Greens

Oranges

Lettuce 

Collard Greens

Kale

Tomatoes

Turnip Greens

Mango

Corn 

Dandelion Greens

Butternut Squash

Spinach


There are also many commercially available gut-load formulas for feeding to your Dubia roaches and other staple feeders. Again, you need to do your research before purchasing one of these gut-load formulas. While there are some excellent options available, there are also many low-quality formulas that won’t provide the nutritional value your chameleon needs.

What to Do When Your Chameleon Won’t Eat Dubia Roaches

If your chameleon won’t accept Dubia roaches as part of its diet, don’t panic. There are a couple techniques you can try to encourage your chameleon to eat Dubia roaches.

The first technique is simply to stop feeding “treat” insects to your chameleon. Insects like superworms, wax worms, and hornworms are to chameleons as pizza and potato chips are to your average teenager – they taste great and, given the opportunity, your chameleon will only eat them.

In fact, it’s not uncommon for reptiles like chameleons and leopard geckos to become addicted to hornworms and other treat insects. Simply by removing the treats and only offering Dubia roaches, your chameleon will most likely eat what’s offered.

The second technique is pretty similar to the first: take away all other feeders and only offer Dubia roaches. As opportunistic feeders, chameleons will eat whatever they see. This is especially true of hungry chameleons. Don’t worry if your chameleon refuses to eat Dubia roaches for several days. Eventually it will get hungry enough to eat. A hungry chameleon is not a picky chameleon.

Takeaway: Yes! Chameleons can and should eat Dubia roaches. In addition to other staple feeders, like crickets, mealworms, and black soldier fly larvae, Dubia roaches are an excellent part of a balanced chameleon diet.

For a reliable source of high-quality Dubia roaches for your chameleon, look no further than Dragon’s Diet’s Dubia roaches. Our Dubia roaches are humanely raised and fed a well-balanced diet of highly nutritious foods like barley, alfalfa meal, beet pulp, crushed apple, and more. We even gut-load them prior to shipping them to you, making them the perfect feeder for your leo.

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