This may be the average New Yorker’s nightmare, but it will be a huge relief for people with geckos, chameleons, bearded dragons and other scaly friends.
A man from North Carolina is launching Reptile Munchies, a startup that will deliver live roaches to the doors of reptile owners so they can keep their pets fed without any hassle. The subscription service costs $29 per month for a month’s worth of reptile food—about 100 roaches.
Nick Zafiropoulos recently began this business when he decided to combine his love for breeding roaches (um, okay?) with his knowledge of biology and entrepreneurship. He’s owned a bearded dragon since he was 14, and at the age of 16, he began breeding his own roaches in his parents’ home in order to cut down on trips to the pet store to buy live feed crickets.
It turns out that keeping a pet reptile fed is a lot of work. Typically, reptile owners have to make the trip to their pet store to pick up crickets at least once a week.
“I remember how my mom felt buying crickets all of the time, so I wanted to give moms and others who don’t want to go to Petco over and over again to buy crickets the chance to save time and give their reptiles the best food they can,” Mr. Zafiropoulos said.
These roaches aren’t the ordinary, skeevy roaches we associate with rundown apartment buildings. They’re dubia, a species of roach from South America, and they are actually healthier for reptiles than crickets with three times as much meat and twice as much protein.
They also have a different temperament than the typical roach. They’re slow-moving, can’t lay eggs in the North American climate (except for Florida, but the company won’t ship there for that reason), and they won’t infest. Despite these positive roach qualities, nobody wants them crawling around, so Mr. Zafiropoulos developed escape-proof containers designed for easy storage and feeding.
When just caring for his own bearded dragon Apollo—who’s been humorously named CEO of the company—Mr. Zafiropoulos had about 1,000 dubia contained in two thirty-gallon bins inside his home. For this venture, he’s had to ramp up his colony and add five more bins just to start.
When we asked how many bins he’ll need to really scale the business and if he’s afraid the colony will take over his living room, he replied, “The space and number of tubs hasn’t been a concern because I will literally put them everywhere.”
Right now, the first batch of roaches is maturing. They’ll be ready to ship out in August, but despite the interest in shipping them to enemies, it won’t be an option.
One Reddit user inquires about the potential second use for the service, to which Mr. Zafiropoulos jokingly agreed, adding that he can throw in some glitter as well.
“I responded playfully, but I assure you I will not be shipping roaches anonymously,” he told us.
Too bad. But if you’re over glitter, there’s some other Ship Your Enemies businesses as well.