Defining Characteristics: Great beginner bug | Easy to Care For | Bold | Large | Interesting | Good in Groups
WE CANNOT SHIP ROACHES TO FLORIDA, DUE TO STATE LAW!
Name: Hissing cockroaches (Gromphadorhina portentosa), also known as Madagascar hissing roaches or hissers, are relatively large insects that are known for their ability to make noise and their ease of handling. Hissing cockroaches make ideal insect pets, as they are easy to care for, inexpensive, and make interesting captives.
Recommended Vivarium Size: Hissing cockroaches are very easy to house - they certainly do not need much room! 1-2 hissers can be housed in something as small as a 1/2 gallon container, as long as it has adequate ventilation. A group of hissing cockroaches should be housed in a 10 gallon or large habitat. A screen top is a must, in order to prevent escapes - these roaches can easily climb glass. Some may prefer to place a layer of petroleum jelly along the top inside rim of the enclosure, to keep the hissers from reaching the top. At Josh's Frogs, we use coconut fiber, kept slightly damp, as a substrate. We also provide a piece of cork as a hide and climbing obstacle for the roaches. Coupled with a small food and water bowl, your hissing cockroaches are sure to thrive! We strongly recommend housing your pet hissing cockroach in a Josh's Frogs Hissing Cockroach Kit.
Temperature: Hissing cockroaches are fine at room temperature, but will grow and breed much faster if kept warmer, up to 95F. You may wish to use a heat pad or heat lamp in order to provide them with warmth.
Humidity: We recommend keeping hissing cockroaches at 50%+ humidity if at all possible. Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches will survive at lower room humidity, but will thrive in the 60-70% humidity range. Keep the coconut fiber bedding damp, and mist frequently.
Size: Hissing cockroaches start life as 1/4" nymphs (baby roaches), and can reach adult size at 5-6 months of age under the proper conditions. Large adult males may measure up to 4 inches in length, and weigh almost an ounce! Hissing cockroaches will grow throughout their lives, and shed their exoskeleton when they do so. Young roaches will shed much more frequently than older animals. After your pet hisser sheds, it will be soft and white for several hours. The hissing cockroaches sold by Josh's Frogs are about 2-3 months old, and from 2-4 inches in length.
Age: Hissing cockroaches typically live 2-3 years, but can live up to 4 or 5 years with excellent care. The hissing cockroaches sold by Josh's Frogs are about 2-3 months old, and from 2-4 inches in length.
Feeding: Hissing cockroaches are not too picky about their diet. Many people feed dry dog or cat food - we prefer Josh's Frogs Cricket Food. Fresh fruit, such as banana, should be offered a few times a week.
Sexing: Male Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches have large horns on their heads, while females have a much more round head. The sexual dimorphism is visually apparent at 3-4 months of age.
Social Behavior: Magagascar Hissing Cockroaches do fantastic when housed in groups. Adult males may fight with each other, but this will just result in more hissing, and not any physical damage to the insects. Often, a pair will slowly become a colony as offspring grow up.
Breeding: Well, you put a male and a female together and . . . they have babies! There really is not much to breeding hissing cockroaches. Hissers can reach sexual maturity at 3 months of age, although 5-6 months is more typical. A female will have up to 3 litters a year, with each litter consisting of 2-3 dozen little nymphs. The female hold eggs inside her body until they hatch, about 60 days after the hissing cockroaches mate. Josh's Frogs recommend keeping hissing cockroaches warmer (80F - 90F) if you wish to breed them.
Natural Range: Hissing cockroaches are from the island of Madagascar, where they live in a tropical/subtropical climate in rotten logs and the leaf litter on the forest floor.
Links of Interest:
Madagascar Hissing Cockroach Care, from about.com. A very basic care sheet.
Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches: Information and Care. One of the best resources out there on hissing cockroaches. Excellent ideas for using hissers as teaching aids in the classroom.
Hissing Cockroach Care Sheet. A basic care sheet from Petco.
Madagascar Hissing Cockroach. Wikipedia article with some neat information, including hissing roaches in the movie.
Still not sure if Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches from Josh's Frogs are the right pet invertebrate for you? Read the reviews below and see what other customers are saying!