Can Bearded Dragons Eat Islander Roaches?

can bearded dragons eat islander roaches

Roaches are generally considered pests but are actually kept as pets and, in some cases, sold as food in many pet stores. So, can bearded dragons eat islander roaches?

Yes. Islander roaches are the largest cockroach species and are known for their high protein content.

They are safe to consume by most lizards as long as they are specifically harvested to be consumed as pet food. In other words, you should never feed your beardie wild roaches as they could harbor parasites.


Roaches are nutritionally balanced and have more flesh than other insects. Below, we look at why they would make an excellent addition to your beardie’s diet.



Roach Feeding Schedule Your Bearded Dragon


Bearded dragons – like many other lizards – enjoy munching on roaches. As pet food, roaches are easy to source, inexpensive, and have a long shelf life. Still, they are not the answer to all your bearded dragon’s needs.

Bearded dragons have specific dietary needs and must consume the ideal amount of protein, calories, minerals, and vitamins to remain healthy.


Your beardie’s dietary needs usually depend on its size and age. When introducing island roaches to his diet, you should follow the following recommended feeding schedule:


  • 0-3 months – 70 percent roaches, 30 percent vegetables, for 3 to 5 daily feedings


  • 3-8 months – 70 percent roaches, 30 percent vegetables, for 2 daily feedings
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  • 8-12 months – 70 percent roaches, 30 percent vegetables, for 1 daily feeding


  • 1 year – 30 percent vegetables, 70 percent roaches in a cyclical routine, of 1st day vegetables, 2nd day roaches, 3rd day skip, repeat.



Pros and Cons of Roach Feeding


Now that you know when to feed your bearded dragon island roaches, let’s look at the pros and possible downsides to this insect diet.




  • Natural Foraging Behaviors – Feeding your beardie live roaches can help them engage in natural foraging behavior by hunting and finding their food. This is healthy for your scaly friend.


  • Tasty – Roaches are a favorite for most lizards, including bearded dragons. This can come in handy if your beardie is a picky eater or has developed preferences.


  • Possible to Gut Load – Gut loading refers to feeding an insect specific foods during the days leading to its being consumed by your pet. Roaches can be gut-loaded to increase your beardie’s nutritional intake in one meal.




  • Island roaches are not the most expensive pet food, but they are costlier than other feeder insects like crickets and mealworms.


  • They are the largest cockroach species, and while they don’t fly, they can bite you or your beardie if you are not careful when handling them.


  • These insects are not very easy to find in pet food stores, especially compared to other feeder insects. You may need to source them from dedicated safe suppliers.


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How to Feed Cockroaches to Your Bearded Dragon


The approach for feeding islander roaches to your beardie is no different than that involving any other insect. As mentioned, you can gut load the roaches approximately 1 to 3 days before feeding.


On the feeding day, you should follow these steps:


  • Select a roach that is no bigger than your pet’s eyes.


  • Place it into your beardie’s habitat, placing it in line with your pet’s mouth but not too close. Your beardie should attempt to eat it as soon as it spots it.


  • When it does, choose and place the next roach.


  • Repeat until your beardie loses interest in new roaches or reaches its limit.


Feeding your beardie one roach at a time will help reduce the chances of it overheating. It will also ensure the roaches don’t overwhelm or bite your pet.

Once your bearded dragon is done eating, remove any roaches that it has not touched from the habitat. You should also never serve a dead roach.




Can bearded dragons eat islander roaches? Absolutely. Not only do beardies love roaches, these tasty treats are also packed with nutritional value.

Islander roaches have a very high protein content, a strong calcium to phosphorus ratio, high mineral, and vitamin content, and low fat levels.

They are more digestible than other insects that have more exoskeleton [1] than flesh and are arguably the best feeder insects you can give your bearded dragon.


That said, you should always match your beardie’s age and size to the number of roaches you give it.

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Young beardies can eat more roaches in a day as long as they are spread out across several feedings. You should also be careful not to offer your pet a roach larger than the space between its eyes.

Have you ever wondered if bearded dragons can eat ice cream?


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