What is the cheapest reptile food?

The Dubia cockroach is the cheapest food, and in this article, I will go over how and why it’s a great choice.

Many people have apparently got the impression that Dubia cockroaches are expensive to feed your reptiles with.

However, this is completely wrong, because it is actually the cheapest feed insect to use, compared to e.g. crickets and locusts.

In this article, we will be doing the math on things…

There are a large number of feed insects on the market, and roughly speaking, they can be divided into two groups, namely primary and secondary feed animals.

The secondary feed animals are typically larvae and worms such as mealworms and zophobas larvae, which unfortunately are not the healthiest food.

This is due to a relatively high-fat content and a very high proportion of chitin, which can cause digestive problems in the hobby animal with excessive use.

In fairness, it must be said that these feed animals are by far the cheapest.

The problem is simply that they cannot be used as primary feed.

All experts recommend that reptiles and other hobby animals are mainly fed with primary feed animals that have been documented to be healthy.

In practice, there are three types of insects, namely locusts, crickets and cockroaches. There are also other types of healthy insects, but these are not very common, typically because they are too expensive and/or cumbersome to handle.

In order to be able to calculate things, a large number of prerequisites must be in place.

It can e.g. be difficult to price the insects because the price of course depends on whether you buy 20 pcs. or 1000 pcs. at a time.

Of course, the price also depends on where you shop and what quality you want.

In the calculations, we take as our starting point typical average figures, but all figures and assumptions appear, so you may/can fill in your own numbers if your situation is different.

The real price for crickets

The most common feed insects are probably crickets, and especially 4 species are widespread in the reptile world, namely field crickets, step crickets, domestic crickets and striped crickets.

There is a large difference in the size of the species, with the former weighing significantly more than the latter.

An adult striped cricket weighs about 0.2 grams, while field and steppe crickets weigh up to 0.7 grams.

In terms of weight, the domestic crickets are somewhere in between.

In many places, the price is the same regardless of species, so you often get the most meat for your money by buying the large species.

But let’s assume on average that an adult sheep cricket weighs 0.4 grams.

Prices vary from place to place, but a typical price for cheap imported crickets will be down to 10 cents per. adult.

However, crickets are to a certain extent cannibalistic and also have a limited lifespan, so some animals will continuously die naturally from old age.

There will therefore always be some shrinkage, which will also depend on how well they are cared for, but also on how well they have been treated by the supplier.

Some people find that half of the crickets have died a few days after the acquisition, but fortunately, this is one of the extremes.

In this calculation, we are content to calculate shrinkage of 15%.

To calculate the “meat price, the relatively simple calculation can be set up as follows:

  • The price of the sheep crickets / (The weight of the sheep crickets in grams – shrinkage) = price per. gram

If the numbers are inserted in the equation, we arrive at a “meat price” of USD 20cents / gram.

The real price of grasshoppers

Desert grasshoppers and migratory grasshoppers are the most common species of forage grasshoppers.

Desert grasshoppers weigh 1.5-2 grams as adults, whereas migratory grasshoppers are slightly larger and can weigh up to 2-3 grams, depending on gender.

The average weight for grasshoppers is estimated at 2.25 grams per. insect.

As is the case for crickets, there is usually not much difference in the price of grasshoppers in relation to the species, so here too you usually get the most for your money by choosing the largest species.

Prices vary, but if you buy cheap imported animals, they are usually traded at around USD 40 cents/insect.

However, grasshoppers are very difficult to care for, as they require both heat and a constant supply of fresh fodder to thrive.

Most, therefore, experience a significant shrinkage.

Often you will also experience a certain amount of dead animals already at delivery, and the relatively short lifespan will in any case result in some of the animals continuously dying a natural death from old age.

We, therefore, choose to calculate an average shrinkage of 20%, which, however, is probably set low.

According to the same calculation as for the sheep chickens, a meat price of USD 50cents / gram is obtained.

The real price for Dubia cockroaches

There are several different cockroaches on the market, all of which are excellent feed animals.

However, the Dubia cockroach is by far the most prevalent, partly because it is cheap, but also because it is easy to deal with.

It is relatively slow, can not climb on slippery surfaces, and does not thrive as a pest.

Adult Dubia males weigh 1.5-2 grams, while females can weigh up to 4 grams.

The average weight is estimated at 2.75 grams per. insect.

The price of Dubia cockroaches is generally rising.

This is due to the increasing popularity, and in many places in the world, these cockroaches are now difficult to obtain due to the demand.

In the United States, they are sold. for example. for up to USD 15 / cockroach.

In the EU, they are fortunately relatively easy to get hold of, and the market price is on average in the order of USD 40 cents/insect.

Unlike both crickets and locusts, Dubia cockroaches live a very long time, typically 6-12 months as adults.

They are also very hardy, and in principle can withstand walking for a long time without water and feed if the accident should be out.

In short, they are unusually viable, which is also quite typical of cockroaches.

With a minimum of care, one will typically not experience significant shrinkage, either during shipping or storage.

We choose to calculate shrinkage of only 5%.

As before, the figures are inserted in the formula, and the result is a meat price of USD 43 cents/gram

Summary of the calculations

Based on the above calculations, it is in round numbers 50% more expensive to feed with crickets and locusts, compared to Dubia cockroaches.

If, for example. uses USD 30 for chickens and/or locusts per month, in other words, USD 120 (tax-free) can be saved on an annual basis, by replacing them with Dubia cockroaches.

Considerations regarding. freight etc.

In the above considerations, the cost of shipping has not been taken into account.

The average consumer buys an estimated feed animal for USD 30 every month and spends perhaps USD 8 on freight (or alternatively petrol to the nearest pet store).

It increases the price of feed animals by an estimated additional 20%.

This expense is not necessary when it comes to Dubia cockroaches, which live on average 4-5 times as long as grasshoppers and crickets.

Here you have the opportunity to buy big and thus save further on shipping.

Cockroaches that are stored for a longer period of time will usually also start to breed, even at room temperature.

That means additional free feed animals.

In terms of work, there is also a big difference from cockroaches to crickets and locusts.

The latter two require more or less daily care, whereas Dubia cockroaches thrive quite well with a weekly feeding.

Sheep crickets and grasshoppers are also neither silent nor odourless and especially the sheep chickens can be quite bad.

There are no such problems with Dubia cockroaches, which are both silent and odourless.

Dubia and cockroaches, in general, are also distinguished by having a high content of calcium compared to phosphorus.

Most feed animals, including chickens and grasshoppers, have a very high phosphorus content relative to calcium, and therefore calcium supplements are very important when feeding with these insects.

Otherwise, there is a risk that reptiles or hobby animals will develop the dreaded “metabolic bone disease”.

Cockroaches have a much higher content of calcium compared to phosphorus, and can in theory be used without additional calcium supplements.

However, for safety reasons, most hobby animals should in any case have access to lime, e.g. in the form of sepia shells so that they can regulate themselves as needed.

The only complaint about the Dubias is that they are cockroaches, and thus for some have a so-called “disgust factor”.

If you are used to working with cockroaches, it can be a little difficult to understand immediately, as the cockroaches are calmer and easier to deal with than both chickens and grasshoppers.

As with everything else, it is largely a matter of habituation, and the individual must of course decide for himself whether he can afford the “fine sensations”.

The fact is that the Dubia cockroach is one of the healthiest feed animals, and even significantly cheaper and easier to handle than the alternatives.

It is not without reason that the Dubia cockroaches are on their way to taking over the lead as the most popular feed animals.

Varied diet is always important

Both animals and humans benefit from a varied diet, and although Dubia cockroaches are optimal feed animals, they should not be the only ones on the menu.

Use the full range of feed animals – both the healthy and the “unhealthy”.