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Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches

(Gromphadorhina portentosa)

Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches are large, wingless, live-bearing cockroaches. Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches have a tough exoskeleton for protection, and they do not possess wings like many other cockroach species. They can also produce a loud hissing sound to scare away predators. Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches generally live 2–3 years as adults, but some adults can live for up to 5 years. Overall, the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach makes an amazing, exotic and easy-to-care-for insect pet.

SIZE
2-3 inches

FEEDING
Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches are easy to feed. Both babies and adults eat grains (cornflakes, oatmeal), vegetables (romaine lettuce, carrots) and fruits (apples, bananas).

HOUSING
Nymphs (baby cockroaches) can live in a small, clear plastic container with air holes. Adults can live in a 2.5–15-gallon tank, depending on the number of cockroaches. Cockroaches will do fine living with other individuals of the same species.

SUBSTRATE
Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches do best with an inch or two of peat moss or vermiculite in their housing.

LANDSCAPING
Since cockroaches are fairly shy, it is best to provide them with good hiding spaces. They particularly like large pieces of bark or cork that they can slip under.

HEATING
Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches do best when the temperature is between 75 and 90°F. Hissing Cockroaches are more likely to reproduce if their environment is on the warm side.

WATER/HUMIDITY
Humidity requirements are fairly simple, the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach isn’t too fussy about humidity levels, but it should be on the lower (dryer) side rather than being overly damp. A simple light spray with a hand sprayer over the substrate once a day with clean, fresh water will be quite adequate, although an additional box filled with damp moss would be appreciated. In addition, a small dish of water should be provided for your cockroaches.

MYTHS VS. FACTS

  • Myth: Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches can fly.
    Fact: While many species of cockroach can fly, Madagascan Hissing Cockroaches cannot fly because they don’t have wings.
  • Myth: Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches lay eggs.
    Fact: Hissing Cockroaches actually carry their egg cases inside their bodies while the nymphs mature. When the nymphs are developed enough they are “born.”
  • Myth: The hissing comes from their mouths.
    Fact: The hissing sound is a result of air being forced through breathing holes in the sides of the insect when it’s disturbed. These holes are called spiracles and act in a similar way to a whistle.