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Need non-climbing roaches


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I haven't used this forum much despite being a member since the beginning of it. I guess because I kept mantids and knew of Orin from there, but never had the time to get more involved here because I'm involved in like 7 other forums. So, I hope no one sees this as me just "using" the forum.. :unsure:

I've only kept Lobsters before, and while their reproduction rate was pretty good, they were fast as hell, would burrow, and could climb glass. This was not good for my especially stupid tree frogs, which quit hunting when the movement stops. The roaches outsmarted nearly 100% of my frogs. I'm hesitant to bowl feed my animals because, well, I'm too lazy, and my frogs don't need the added stress of disruption to the tank.

Since you guys know roaches inside and out, I figure you could recommend to me some kind of ideal feeder roach that isn't too big like a hisser, not too fast, soft shelled, and doesn't climb glass like a lobster. These are ESCAPE artists. I would want something relatively inexpensive obviously since it's a feeder and has fairly good proliferation for the price. I would want to culture my own. Sure I could go google some roaches, but I figure I'd ask here where someone's bound to have excess that he/she could sell off to me for cheap.

*By the way: I'm glad this section was added. I was hesitant to post at all in the past for fear of offending people talking about their animals as delicate pets and then me barging in talking about feeding them to my frogs :(

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Hi Spawn,

Many roach enthusiasts make their way here through keeping them as feeders for their reptiles, orginally. Their feeders sort of creep up on them and they eventually adopt a fascination for them. They are later surprised to see the display species like domino roaches.

You might consider B. dubia. They are slower than lobster roaches. I pick them up with forceps and drop them into my various predator tanks. These roaches often land on their backs and play dead for around ten seconds. Shortly, their legs begin to wiggle and this catches the predators eye. You might need to pick them up and drop them a few times to get the right combination of placement and orientation, but this is a lot easier to do in a larger frog terrarium than a mantis vial!

For frogs, crickets probably are superior since they tend to stay out in the open more, but roaches are easier to breed (and stink less).

Even though they are faster than the Blaptica dubia or your lobsters, B. lateralis would probably be my first choice for your frog. They are very active and soft-shelled. It might take a few attempts, but if you drop a bunch of roaches in the frog is likely to catch one eventually.

Lobster roaches are my least favorite of these three feeder species. They like to hide and they hide quickly! Plus, they exude the brown liquid when you pinch them with the forceps or when a mantis holds them (not necessarily a situation everybody would encounter).

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I haven't found B. dubia to be a good frog feeder. Only very young nymphs; anything past the 3rd instar seems to hard for the frogs to to swallow.

I've used orange head roaches with decent success; I still prefer lobsters for my frogs since I do hand-feeding.

Otherwise I'd go with Blatta lateralis.

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For mantids I would back up Peter's opinion on B. lateralis. They are quick little guys though, as adults more so, which my T's don't have a hard time taking down but I haven't done the frog thing yet so I guess they can take them. They seem to stay out in the open instead of burrowing like many other species but they will still head for the dark hiding spots. They are not very good at climbing either and relatively soft. If you have problems with burrowing I suggest do not use orangeheads. With my mantids I actually used to just put them in the refrigerator for a bit, to slow them down and just stick the 'roach near the mantid with the forceps and they would take it right off of the tweezers.

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The problem here is that there is no roach that fits all of the criteria. There are several that fit all but one of the criteria, however. I might suggest trying to colonize a roach within the frog enclosure to the benefit of both.

For separate colony, Blatta lateralis does not climb glass, is prolific, and an excellent feeder. Panclora nivea may be another consideration as they are very active at night and great frog or gecko bait. Phoetallia pallida may also make a good feeder as they are easy. You might also take a look into Elliptorhina chopardi (a "mini hisser").

Just some thoughts.

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Do B. lateralis get to be the same size as lobsters? Or smaller? Same size or smaller is what I'm looking for out of adults.

I'm leaning towards B. lateralis. The dwarf hissers I think would be too expensive. I can't find any good deals on a group of B. dubias, however. It seems 100-200 is going to cost me $50 or more. I was hoping someone on the board would have excess they could spill off to me. I do think dwarf hissers would be cool as a treat every couple of months, however. I'm just sick of forking out money to crickets every week.

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I'd estimate an adult lobster has 33% more mass than an adult (female) B. lateralis (Turkistan roach). The lobsters are noticeably harder-bodied and winged. Turkistans have winged males, but the females are wingless. The lobsters certainly have an audible crunch when our bearded dragon eats them.

(B. dubia are softer and best when young for most of my personal feeding applications.)

I like Matt's P. nivea suggestion quite a bit too.

Dave Grimm usually has a good deal on B. dubia.

I do like to culture a variety of feeders so that I always have something on hand to save me that expensive trip to the pet store for crickets.

Oh, that's a spider on my ceiling. Thought it was a fly...better go get it, before it's gets me...

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The breeder feedback section is a great place to look for reliable dealers. Here's Dave's feedback section which does happen to contain his contact info. in the first post:

http://www.roachforum.com/index.php?showtopic=646

I bought 1000 B. dubia from Dave last month which our reptiles are making short work of.

BugsInCyberspace (a familiar website to me) has the P. nivea. I don't know who else might without visiting the various sites out there.

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  • 1 month later...

You might want to look into B. Bolivenus. I just got 100 to start a colony and I'm very pleased. I feed the nymphs to my baby scorplings. They don't stink, climb or fly. Adults are 1.5 inches, but the little nymphs are only 1/4" which would work. Plus Dave Grimm is absolutely great to deal with. I ordered 100 and got a lot more and he included a lot of adults which got my colony off to a great start. I can't say enough good things about him if you need a great roach supplier.

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