Alternative Feeder to Roaches...

spawn

Member
I just moved into a new place, with my girl, and I do not think either the landlord or her would appreciate my bins of roach colonies (red runner, dubia, lobsters). The risk of them getting out is simply unacceptable. I'm in NY state. I'm currently trying to think of what would work/be similar in size and ease to breed. Horn worms seem expensive/messy and very involved to do en masse. I was thinking...grasshoppers?? Perhaps a beetle of some sort? This would be for a mellers and some jacksons... Superworms seem doable with a bin system but not sure how good of a staple they are given their hard exoskeleton? I'm open to any suggestion for large feeders. I can do blue bottle flies, have plastic mesh cages for that, but I feel I need something else. Earth worms? Those seem like a good bang for the buck, but seems like it would take very long to culture to proper size.
 

Craigwyatt

Avid Member
Have you thought about breeding silk worms. I have no idea on how easy or hard it is but I know many people have success with them. They are a great staple type food.
You could also just buy eggs in bulk and raise them yourself. Coastal silk worms has pretty good deals if you wanted to go that direction.
 

RedMountainHome

Established Member
I've always been a fan of the KISS method, and the simplest solution I can think of here is to... get a new girl ;)

I'm a newb yet, but from everything I've seen roaches are the simplest and healthiest staple you can keep. No smell, easy to care for, nice and nutritious... why change what's not broken? The next best thing is crickets but they stink, jump, and its super easy to crash a colony.

Anyway, if you want to sell off your red runner or lobster colonies, give me a shout =)
 

spawn

Member
@ Redmountain: did you read my post? I don't want to get rid of them. Other people have a problem with them.

@ Craig: I haven't, but I have tried caterpillars before, and I've had trouble getting them to notice them.

I caught these two today, and they started mating. Are these differential grasshoppers? Are they toxic?
 

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repdog

Member
My boy is very picky when it comes to eating. We had him outside last year and he caught a grasshopper that came into the cage. Since then its about the only thing he will eat. The grasshoppers around here just started to come out but are still very small. I found one that was bigger than the rest, put in his cage and before I could get it out of my hand he went for it. I CAN NOT get this boy to eat from my hand let alone stay out front when his cage door opens. Now I don't like using wild caught insects but when it comes to just about the only thing I can see him eat them ok. In winter he eats a hornworm once a week. Maybe a few crickets but most of those end up getting out of the cage and running around the house before he decides it might be good food.
 

Remkon

Chameleon Enthusiast
I've tried to breed grasshoppers and got some offspring off them but they are very good escape artists. They basically do best if you feed them fresh grass every day and you need to provide them with something sweet (water/sugar solution or fruit) of they will start to munch on eachother.
You'll have to split up the young from the adults otherwise you risk all young being eaten if you forget to provide them with the sweets (that happened to me)...

I do the dubia roaches instead now under huge protest of my wife but I've told her that dubia's are least likely to escape and they need to have 28C to reproduce which it will never be in the house so if one escapes it's no problem where red runners could cause an investation.
She now seems to be at peace with it as long as she doesn't have to see them.

I also breed soil bugs as they do not need much care other than some leaves/veggies and water and they are available for free in my garden.

I read Jacksonii love snails, I dno how you can breed snails but that would be a feeder that's not an escape hazard. :D
 

RedMountainHome

Established Member
Yep, I read your post. That's why I recommended getting a new girl instead of a new feeder :)

(I'm only partially joking!)
 

cyberlocc

Chameleon Enthusiast
Nothing is as easy as roaches. And pretty much nothing besides roaches and crickets are easy. Silks are not hard, but very time consuming.

Basically you got crickets, tell your girl I could go with crickets. Crickets will escape and they will bred in your house. They also smell.

I told mine that and she said whatever get the roaches. The few times I have gotten crickets, we always have loose crickets ALWAYS, the only time we have had a loose Dubia is when my daughter dropped the bin and I caught them quickly.

The only things suitable for a staple are Silkworms, Roaches, and Crickets(also grasshoppers)

The issue with Grasshoppers is they make noise and are very very hard to breed and care for, They are extremely time consuming. They need fresh food everyday, cage cleaning everyday, ect.

So tell her, I can breed crickets they will get out will survive and will stink, or I can do Dubia and they might get out, wont live and wont stink.
 

chamloveisreal

New Member
Yep, I read your post. That's why I recommended getting a new girl instead of a new feeder :)

(I'm only partially joking!)
I hope that I am not offending you but some people might be looking for an actual answer, and comments like these are bumping those answers down to the the bottom. ( I am not trying to offend you, sorry if I did)
 

cyberlocc

Chameleon Enthusiast
I hope that I am not offending you but some people might be looking for an actual answer, and comments like these are bumping those answers down to the the bottom. ( I am not trying to offend you, sorry if I did)

But he is right. You want a feeder that is a good staple and easy to breed that isnt a roach or cricket, well the sad fact is that doesn't exist.

If we make a list of wants that includes.

Staple nutrition,
Low chitin (again for a staple),
Easily gutloaded,
Easy to breed, requires little time,

We have 2, Crickets and Roaches. That is the end of the list, everything else does not meet some of those requirements.

Take the other common foods,

Silkworms - Staple Nutrition, Soft Bodied, Not gutloadable, Not easy to breed.
Superworms - Easy to breed, Gutloadable, High in fat and chitin, not a good staple.
Isopods - Easy to breed, Gutloadable, Extremely High in chitin, also in calcium, too hard to digest to be a staple.
Hornworms - Good Nutrition and Hydration (maybe not staple), Soft bodied, Extremely hard to breed.
Locust /Grasshopper - Staple Nutrition, Low Chitin, Hard to breed.
Stick Insect - Good Nutrition, Gut loadable, Easy to breed, Illegal in the US. Hard to find food for, for some
Flys - Staple Nutrition, Soft Bodied, Easy to breed with caveats, Lots of maintenance high escape rate.
Katydid - See stick Insects.

Part of owning a chameleon is dealing with roaches or crickets or both. One of them is going to have to be fed, period. If you cant deal with Live Roaches or Crickets, then you need to look at other animals.

We go over this about 25 times a week. People wanting to feed just worms ect. Can we just get a big banner on the site, that if you are not prepared to deal with roaches or crickets look at a different pet!

Before someone jumps in and says "You can do fine without roaches and crickets". I will agree and experienced keeper could, however balancing hard and soft everyday and making sure they get enough of both and not too much of 1 is very difficult and takes knowing cues from your chameleon. You will be walking a fine line of Impaction and diarrhea. While also greatly limiting the variety that chameleons need.
 
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Spyro

Avid Member
Site Sponsor
hornworms, silkworms i breed. Crickets too. I use them all plus waxworms and superworms for my chams
 

RedMountainHome

Established Member
No worries Chamloveisreal, we've all got our opinions :) I really do think it's the right answer, though. Giving up your hobbies or happiness to keep relations happy isn't a recipe for any kind of success. Hopefully OP can find the right answer for him.
 

guanagator

Avid Member
Go through one batch of crickets and she'll be begging you to breed more roaches. Lots of beetles work and are super low care but they are so small it's basically pointless for anything but babies or the smaller species. Ultimately a Dubia or discoid colony is the easiest and lowest profile. No noise, no smell, plus 99% of places your going to move into have a resident roach or two already, the ones we breed for chams don't reproduce well in room temps so risk of infestation is incredibly low.
 

spawn

Member
I cannot believe I'm the only person in an apartment that doesn't allow roaches. I just don't believe it. I'm looking for people in my situation and for what has worked for them. Most places have a dog/cat policy, but I'm assuming you're not telling your neighbors or landlord there's a tub of 100+ roaches hanging out in your room either.
 

MortiMarie

Member
I'm in an SF Bay Area apartment that would probably not be happy with roaches...but I still keep dubia. I really do think it's unavoidable unless you want to do crickets. Which, as mentioned, pose a bigger risk of escapees and smell. I think you should try silkworms. As cyberlocc mentioned, they take some time to grow up to size. But they're really easy. I'm currently growing my first batch from eggs and they're pretty low maintenance. Also, I used to breed them in elementary school, so if 9 year old me could do it, anyone can haha. Other than that, idk what to tell you.
 

guanagator

Avid Member
If there was a better answer we would have given it to you, not holding out any great secrets. Never forget my girlfriends face when I proposed the idea of breeding roaches, while she probably still doesnt like it on some level but she hated seeing crickets crawling around and making noise at night, plus the smell of the cricket bin was a constant complaint even hours after it was cleaned. She now could care less about the 1000s of roaches of various varieties in our place. They are all in bins and don't escape near as often as crickets. Do you have a good reptile store close by? You could likely work out a significant discount on feeders if you explain your situation and pass your colonies on to them. Also could try and find someone in your area who keeps herps and would take the colonies in exchange for giving you enough to feed your animals. Not sure how many chams you have but without roaches or crickets as a staple don't see much of another option unless your going bug hunting in a local natural area a few times a week.
 

RedMountainHome

Established Member
I cannot believe I'm the only person in an apartment that doesn't allow roaches. I just don't believe it. I'm looking for people in my situation and for what has worked for them. Most places have a dog/cat policy, but I'm assuming you're not telling your neighbors or landlord there's a tub of 100+ roaches hanging out in your room either.

No, I don't tell my landlord or neighbors, or usually even my visitors, that I've thousands of roaches in a plastic bin over in the corner. If the lease doesn't ask about it and it's not illegal, you don't need to disclose it.
 
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