Why Your Tarantula Should Eat Roaches

Can tarantulas eat roaches?Can tarantulas eat roaches? You might be asking this question as you are iffy about breeding this type of feeder. At the same time, you probably want to experiment with other roaches rather than sticking with your dubia roaches. Can they be fed other roaches?

Yes, tarantulas can eat roaches. However, there are only certain types of roaches that you can feed your T. These are dubia, Turkestan, and Madagascar hissing roaches. Also, you should not feed house roaches to your T. It is still the best option to breed roach feeders. 

So now you have it, all you need to do now is to figure out how to properly breed the said roaches. In this article, we are also going to discuss why feeding house roaches to your T is not a good idea.

Further, we will talk about the roaches that you can feed to your T as well as how to properly breed them. So keep on reading!

Can Tarantulas Eat Roaches?

As we have mentioned earlier, yes they can definitely eat roaches. In fact, in the wild, tarantulas tend to prefer to prey on roaches as they are very nutritious.

A study conducted at the University of Cambridge found out that medium-sized tarantulas tend to disregard other prey if there are roaches around. What is interesting is the fact that they usually resort to this behavior when they are nearing their time to molt.

That says a lot, right? Meaning, tarantulas themselves know that they should go for roaches as doing so will aid them in molting. Moreover, this goes to show that roaches are ideal food as they are rich in fat and other essential vitamins and minerals.

What Type Of Roaches Can I Feed My Tarantula?

In general, there are three types of roaches that you can feed your tarantula. At the same time, they also have their corresponding pros and cons.

Of course, you should also have to take note of the fact that you should be able to handle breeding and keeping them alive. So let us take a look at the choices.

Dubia Roach

The dubia roach is also called, Guyana spotted roach, Argentinian wood roach, and orange-spotted roach. This is a cockroach that is medium in size and they can grow from 40-45 mm.

Needless to say, they are the most favorite tarantula feeders. The reason behind this is that they are so easy to breed. Further, they are also nutritious.

They can provide the much-needed nutrients that your T needs. There is only a lack of calcium (which your T does not really need), phosphorus, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E. Therefore, gut loading these roaches is still essential.

Are roaches good for tarantulas?
Tarantula eating a dubia roach

How To Breed Dubia Roaches

All you have to do to successfully breed dubia roaches is to provide them a proper enclosure, heat them correctly, and lastly, feed them. Easy, right?

In fact, for their enclosure, you can simply put them in a plastic container that can accommodate their number. You can put in egg cartons or some sort of substrate.

As for the temperature, you just have to keep it at least 85 F and they should be good to go. You can feed them grains or fruit. But they much prefer semisweet vegetable matter.

Food like carrots, papayas, mangos, apples, banana, cherries, oranges, pears, strawberries, fresh corn, etc. They also feed on other leafy green vegetables.

As for the grains, you can feed them breakfast cereals that are not sweetened, pasta that has been softened, and grain-based cat or dog food.

Do you need to do something for them to reproduce? Not really, just as long as there is a male and female present, they will breed on their own. The gestation period is about 28 days and the eggs will hatch inside the female’s body.

Pros

  • Easy to breed
  • Nutritious for your tarantula
  • Cannot easily escape
  • Does not smell bad
  • Does not produce a lot of noise

Cons

  • Cannot be easily purchased in pet stores
  • They hide and burrow when putting in the tarantula’s enclosure
  • Play dead when a T approaches them

Turkestan Cockroach

The Turkestan cockroach is commonly known as the Blatta lateralis cockroach. It is also called red runner cockroach, rusty red, red runner cockroach, and simply, lat. Adults have a size that can reach for up to 1.2 in.

These cockroaches are usually mistaken for the German cockroach due to their light brown color. However, they are very different, with the latter being not acceptable as a tarantula feeder.

These cockroaches are also nutritious for your T, although they still lack phosphorus, calcium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E. However, they are a rich source of Vitamin B12.

How To Breed Turkestan Cockroaches

You have to be careful in breeding these cockroaches as they are quick in their toes and have a higher chance of escaping their enclosure. Once they escape, they can prove to be a pest in your home.

You can place them in a plastic bin with some egg cartons or substrate inside. As they prefer a hot and lightly humid environment, it is best to keep the temperature at 75-95 F.

Further, they love protein more than other food, so you can give them dog food, any type of meat, or even peanut butter. At the same time, you can feed them moisture-based food like apples, oranges, pineapples, etc.

They really cannot climb, but the males are known to fly. So you really need to have a secure lid to cover their enclosure. Lastly, for reproduction, you can simply let them be just as long as they have the right conditions, they will breed on their own.

Pros

  • Easy to buy online
  • Do not burrow
  • Active movements will attract your tarantula
  • Their nymphs can also be fed to slings

Cons

  • Cannot be easily found in pet stores
  • They are fast so it can be tricky to catch them
  • Can be a pest in your home

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

Moving on to the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach or commonly called as hisser or hissing cockroach, this cockroach is definitely a good choice if you have a large tarantula. The reason behind this is that they are one of the largest species of cockroach.

A full-size adult can reach two to three inches! Definitely, if your T eats one, they will spend some time munching on this cockroach. They also do not have wings and surprisingly, unlike the other roaches in this article, they can actually scale smooth surfaces may it be plastic or glass.

This cockroach is also a popular choice for longterm tarantula owners as they live for a long time, specifically five years. Further, they also hiss which can mean three things: mating hiss, fighting hiss, and disturbance hiss.

How To Breed Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches

As they can scale smooth surfaces, it is best to put secure barriers in whatever enclosure you want to use. Also, aside from the substrate, you can put in a log inside the enclosure as they are known to thrive inside organic materials.

As another countermeasure, you can use petroleum jelly near the lid or door of the enclosure as well as the sides of the enclosure. In terms of feeding, you can give them vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, and other green leafy vegetables.

They also like food that is high in protein, like dry dog food.

Make sure to keep the temperature in their enclosure between 85 to 95 F as they are not that used to the cold. The reason for this is that they are a tropical species.

Pros

  • Best for large tarantulas
  • Great in increasing size and mass
  • Easy to breed
  • Lives for a long time

Cons

  • Not readily available in stores
  • Good escape artists
  • A bit noisy
  • Has a slight odor (tolerable than crickets)
  • Mite magnet (does not affect the roach or T, but having too many mites in the enclosure is not ideal)

What Roaches Should I Not Feed To My Tarantula?

In such a case where you cannot get your hands on any roaches or cockroaches that we mentioned previously, what type of roach can you offer your tarantula? Sad to say, there are no other known roaches.

A lot of owners tend to experiment with other roaches, however, they found out that it is either their Ts will not eat them or they cannot keep up with the breeding procedures of the other roaches.

The three roaches that we mentioned are the ones that can work great not only for your T, but you as well.

How about house cockroaches?

You should never feed or even try to breed cockroaches that you were able to catch in your home. The first reason is that no amount of gut loading can ever make them nutritious and even safe for your T. They may have parasites and pesticides on them which can make your T sick.

Another reason is that they breed like crazy. In the event that you caught a male and a female, you will not be able to keep up with their brood and there is always a high chance that they will escape as common cockroaches have the ability to fly.

The worst-case scenario is, not only will you have a sick tarantula, but now, you have a pest infestation in your home.

Can I Use My Tarantula To Take Care Of My Roach Problem?

A lot of owners tend to ask this question especially if they have a roach problem in their homes. In fact, once you spot a cockroach and your T’s enclosure is near that area, you will see that your T has the tendency to stalk the cockroach.

Does this mean that you can use your T to get rid of the cockroach?

No. This is definitely a bad idea. This is pretty much the same as feeding a cockroach from your home to your T. Sure, they will win against the cockroach, but he might get sick due to the stomach contents of the said cockroach.

Moreover, you really cannot use your tarantula as a pest control. What are you going to do? Leave your tarantula roaming around a specific room?

Doing so may injure your tarantula and you give him a chance to escape. More than that, people who are unaware that your T is loose might step on him, or much worse, may get bitten by him.

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