Other common names: Australian Rhinoceros Cockroach; Rhinoceros Cockroach; Litter Bug
Scientific name: Macropanesthia rhinoceros
The Giant Burrowing Cockroach is native to Australia, and is one of the largest (80 mm / 3.15 inches) and heaviest (35 grams / 1.2 oz.) cockroach species in the world. Macropanesthia rhinoceros is a wingless and slow moving terrestrial species, and lives in permanent, one meter deep burrows they dig in sandy soil. The Giant Burrowing Cockroach feeds on dead Eucalyptus tree leaves.
Because of their size and docile nature, the Giant Burrowing Cockroach is a fairly popular exotic pet in Australia. They require a habitat which has a moist sand substrate, and are fed dried Eucalyptus leaves.
Appearance / health:
Giant Burrowing Cockroaches are shiny brown and have spiny legs. They are wingless. Males have a "scoop" on their head, and females do not.
Giant Burrowing Cockroaches can’t climb the glass walls of a terrarium, and can’t fly either. For this reason a lid may not be required, however, to preserve moisture in the soil substrate, a partial lid is suggested. Deep, moist sandy soil will encourage the cockroaches to build a natural burrow system. They generally require a relative humidity of 60%+ to thrive and temperatures above 25c (28-30c is best) to reproduce. The preferred diet for this insect is dried eucalyptus leaves and other associated matter such as bark, dried grass and twigs. In captivity they can occasionally eat small amounts of fruit such as apple.
Giant Burrowing Cockroaches can live 7-14 years in captivity.
Cockroaches are omnivorous and eat virtually any type of food you want to give them. The best way to keep your pet healthy is to provide a wide and varied diet. Some options for food are cornflakes cereal, apples, peaches, bananas, lettuce, carrots, and high quality dog food may be offered as well. Try to vary the diet from week to week and change the ingredients. For best results you should put the food in a shallow dish and put it in a corner. They have a limited requirement for water as most of it will come from the food but you can add another smaller dish containing a wad of wet cotton wool or even buy the water gels that are available for crickets. This will prevent them from drowning and will provide water if needed.
Female Giant Burrowing Cockroaches give birth to live young with up to 30 in a clutch - they do not lay eggs.