Roach options for large Chameleons (melleri)

shaneofall

New Member
So I have been doing investigation on large feeders to work with and my past experience was the fairly easy Dubia, but maybe a little small for what I want. I am looking at starting with a small handful of species and see what works out the best and/or have a constant variety. I am looking at feeding T. melleri and here is my list...

Non-climbers
  • Blaberus discoidalis (Discoids)
  • Eublaberus posticus (Orangehead)
  • Blaberus fusca (Cave Roach)
  • Blaptica dubia (Dubias)
Hissers
  • Standard Hisser
  • Gromphadorhina oblongonota (Wide-Horn)

What do you guys think? The hissers are all going in glass screened cages, while the others in bins. Anyone have experience with any of the species climbing or getting out? Any experience with Melleri not liking any of these types?
 

Olimpia

Biologist & Ecologist
I have a few of the same species (although not all, because some are illegal in Florida) and mine all love the nymphs. I have stopped offering adult fuscas because they emit a bitter smell (which I assume is a taste as well) and the chameleons end up chewing them up and spitting them out. So I only offer nymphs now, because they never reject them.

I don't have hissers but I did help care for some at a zoo facility here in Florida years ago and they do climb super well! And their nymphs are small and soft, so make sure your tank has no tiny spaces they can squeeze out from. Or use something like vaseline or whatnot to form a smooth barrier.

But that sounds like a good list to me. I only have 3-4 species on rotation so your list is better than mine lol.
 

LLLReptile

Established Member
Site Sponsor
They definitely enjoy the hissers, they are popular with ours in the stores and they rarely refuse them. I usually start relatively small (half grown, about 1") to ensure they get the hang of eating them, and large, established mellers will take down adult hissers no problem.

They do climb, so we line the top of their glass terrariums with vaseline so they can't get up to the screen. We offer them using tweezers or tongs so that they don't escape within the cage; some mellers get comfortable enough to just eat them out of our hands. :)

-Jen
 

Royalcham

New Member
Feeder choices

I have had a lot of positive results feeding my large chams dubia loaded without water crystals as well as red runner turkistan roaches. I would personally steer clear from hissers unless you are feeding small nymphs.
 

shaneofall

New Member
Thanks Olimpia, sounds like fuscas might be good to keep me from feeding out the large female and a reminder to keep the hissers secure.. I get in trouble when crickets are walking down the hall. I say they are coming from outside :confused:, but an exotic looking roach will not pass that excuse.

Hi Jen, hissers actually from your store is my first feeding and they went fast!

Royalcham, I did actually keep lataralis before and honestly they are too much like roaches I have seen in the house, they creep me out! What makes you say that about hissers? Honestly I was thinking of feeding the largest size that they will eat (can safely eat) and using the largest for breeders.
 

parpan5

Member
No Hissers or any glass climbing Roaches for me. (personal preference).

All of us who love this hobby end up becoming amateur Entomologists and have the tendency to spend excessive amounts of time housing, feeding, cleaning and culturing healthy insects all in the name of keeping our chams happy and healthy.

Don't want to deal with Vaseline, bug stop, bullet proof containers or the one off Hisser nymph in my shoe.

In other words, you don't want to create a high maintenance situation for yourself.

Dubias & Discoids are good for larger chams.

Cheers
 

shaneofall

New Member
I ended up ordering all 6 species and have put together a design using 20g tubs that looks to be escape proof (largest holes would be the aluminum screen). Most will be ready to test feed large ones so I can offer my Melleri's opinion. With the exception of Gromphadorhina oblongonota, as I will have a hard time feeding out until I have a fairly large colony established.

Hi parpan5, the thing is I do want to become an amateur Entomologists :eek: . I look at it this way; as a programmer (Software Engineer), we learn to find things to win at, because development of software can be very disappointing at times. Those wins uplift your confidence. So as someone who aspires to breed T. melleri (and later C. parsonii), I have a feeling I will need some of those small wins to keep my confidence up. If I never produce Chameleon babies, I will be a darn good roach breeder at least.
 

Garrett

Chameleon Enthusiast
Having raised all of those species, I would personally stick to dubias and orange heads.
The discoids are large and skittish, and they are strong! I always hated handling them before feeding. The adults also emit an unpleasant smell.
The hissers are slower to reproduce, and are master escape artists. Also high in fat, but don't quote me on that.
Dubias are probably the most perfect feeder roach as far as ease of care, least amount of smell, fast reproduction, and mellow temperment (they play dead when you pick them up.)
Orange heads are also good, like a smaller more mellow discoid. They have a less obnoxious defensive odor but still there. They do need a higher protein content in their diet than dubias or they will chew the wings off each other. These species are great if you're hand feeding, their only downfall is cup feeding. They only move around in the cup for a little while until they get cold, then stop moving. Not a problem if you have a hungry chameleon waiting by the cup!
If you ordered all of these species you'll soon find these things out :D
I only raise dubias now, my adult parsonii will eat all of the different sizes nymph to adult.
 
I agree that Dubia's are the way to go. I've kept many roach species and for ease and convenients this is the best. My only problem is keeping up enough sub-adult adult sized, for all my guys and gals.
 

ChamMan7

Member
Hey there, as most have said, dubia are pretty much the way to go. They reproduce quite quickly, are very easily gutloadable, don't climb, etc. I keep and breed around 15 different species of roaches; 8 or 9 of these are hissers. I do NOT feed these all the time; however, the benefit of your standard hissing cockroach is the massive about of nymphs produced and their long reproductive lifespan. My main focus when it came to chameleons for a while was Melleri, and they really enjoyed hissing roaches. With that being said, I did not feed adult hissers, but juvenile and subadult hissers are large, softer bodied, and you always seem to have enough of them. Pair this with all around good husbandry and you will not have any issues. They make a great supplement, but of course should not make up the majority of your chameleons diet.
 

ChamMan7

Member
Also forgot to answer as to some of the others you have listed. Anyone who is worried about the hard bodies of hissers and has not mentioned the bodies of Orange Headed roaches is missing something! Orange headed roaches are an extremely "solid" roach. I have a large colony that I feed from quite sparingly. Sub adult hissers are much softer than Orange Headed roaches in my experience.

Make sure that you get your Blaberus and Eublaberus colonies up and running well before you get your chameleon if you are going to rely on them. These guys are slow to mature; however, they are very prolific once old enough. Your Blaberus species are a little trickier to house than dubia and tend to do better in more specific substrates.
 

shaneofall

New Member
Thanks for all the great tips and info Garrett, SSimsswiSS and ChamMan7. I am sold on each species still, for the sake of interest and can always sell off what is not working for me.

ChamMan7, I already have a strong interest in the different hisser species, have you shared this collection anywhere and/or posted pictures?

As for my cages being escape proof, I believe I have a good design going. These are mockups, I am getting more of the 3" aluminum vents in black with screen built in for the other cages...

 

ChamMan7

Member
Thanks for all the great tips and info Garrett, SSimsswiSS and ChamMan7. I am sold on each species still, for the sake of interest and can always sell off what is not working for me.

ChamMan7, I already have a strong interest in the different hisser species, have you shared this collection anywhere and/or posted pictures?

As for my cages being escape proof, I believe I have a good design going. These are mockups, I am getting more of the 3" aluminum vents in black with screen built in for the other cages...

Those look quite good as long as long as the side vents are aluminum which they look to be. I don't have pictures up anywhere but I think I am going to do a photoblog of them soon and I can pm you when it is up!
 

shaneofall

New Member
Do keep me posted ChamMan7. I got a shipment of of large Dubia's and large G. portentosa this week, and the Melleri loves them both. I actually think I can get more food out of these than I ever could have feeding strait crickets. The Melleri seems to eat more and has become much more excited at feeding time than with the crickets.

It does like both, but the added cost of breeding hissers seems to pay off with what looks to be much more meat than what you get out of a Dubia, though the Dubia is still a fairly hearty meal and much more compared to a cricket. It looks like anything over 2" would be a bad choice to feed. My Melleri will take a 2" portentosa and it appears any larger would require some work, unless a thinner species. The portentosa can be quite wide.
 
Top Bottom