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aoikirin

Roach cannibalism - does it count only involving live roaches?

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I find this topic interesting, as I have occasionally found a dead roach in one of my enclosures who has been nibbled on.  I generally find dead roaches intact, but when I don't it's usually an adult who has lived its life.  I find two feeding patterns.  The first tends to be that the presumably soft fleshy head has been consumed.  The other pattern seems to be eating starting into the butt region.  I find it interesting that dead ones tend to not be touched at all, but when they are it tends to be either their head or butt consumed but not both.  Ever.

 

I always provide oranges, carrots, water, powdered dubia food and dried cat food.  Is it normal to see nibbling on the dead?  I've never seen it in action.  

 

Live cannibalism would be considered in its own category and I assume is rare?

 

 

I have only witnessed live cannibalism once on a male Chopardi adult who was near death and on his back.  I don't know how he got that way but when I discovered him they had eaten into his bottom and the poor dear was still alive.  That was horrifying and fortunately seems to be the exception.  I say he was near death because he was slowing down as roaches do when they are near death and begin to hardly move or eat.  I had noticed it earlier in the week as all my roaches are pets and are in glass enclosures.

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I think it depends on the species, but it seems reasonable to assume different causes for dead and live cannibalism. Perhaps the later should be called predation. I have noticed my orange heads will occasionally eat a live individual that is freshly molted (still white). It is a little disturbing to see a half-eaten, still living roach that just started adulthood. I believe this happens more as a result of male/male aggression than actual nutritional need, as the orange heads do not wait until until the exoskeleton of an adult is hardened before mating or being aggressive. But overcrowding is likely an impact on both nutritional and territorial drives.

My hissers on the other hand, almost never engage in any form of cannibalism. It is interesting you find yours go for different body regions. I'm sure there is some thing to that.

 

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