Other common names: Giant Hissing Cockroach; Madagascar Hissing Beetle; Hissing Cockroach; Hisser; Hissing Roach; Hissing Beetle; Maddies
Scientific name: Gromphadorhina portentosa
The Madagascar Hissing Cockroach is one of the largest species of cockroach, and is native to the island of Madagascar, where it is commonly found in rotting wood. Gromphadorhina portentosa are wingless, and are characterized by the hissing sound they make when disturbed, aggressive or when attracting a mate.
The Madagascar Hissing Cockroach is a docile insect and is easily bred. It does not bite, and is commonly kept both as a pet, and as a feeder insect for captive reptiles like lizards as well as pet tarantulas.
Appearance / health:
The Hissing Cockroach is one of the largest species of roaches, reaching 2–3 inches at maturity. They are a dark reddish brown to black color, with a hard exoskeleton and no wings.
Behavior / temperament:
Madagascar hissing cockroaches are hardy and docile and can easily be handled. They do not bite, do not fly, and do not move quickly. This makes them very good for beginners.
A 10-15 gallon tank can comfortably house dozens of adult hissing cockroaches if stacked egg crates are utilized. Be sure to use a secure screen lid as they can climb glass and fit through small holes.
Being tropical, Hissing cockroaches do best if kept a bit above room temperature. This can be anywhere from 75-90F. Provide some hiding places, which can be as simple as cardboard rolls from toilet paper, pieces of cardboard egg cartons, cork bark, driftwood, and small cardboard boxes. Substrate can be bran, aspen chips, or sand about 2-3 inches deep.
Cockroaches are omnivorous which means they can 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.
If you have a colony of hissing roaches, or a few inside a tank, they should breed readily without any extra work. However, if they do not breed, make sure there are definitely both males and females and that the temperatures are not too low. They will not breed if temperatures are off. These roaches are easy to breed and females can have about 3 broods a year, producing 20-50 young at a time. This species of cockroach doesn't lay eggs. Instead it produces an egg case which is kept within the body until the eggs begin to hatch. It will then give birth to live, white cockroaches that will darken over the following day. The males of this species can be distinguished from the female as the male has a 'horn' or raised bump on the front of its head, the female lacks this.
fascinating pets, excellent feeder insect, fun scare factor, feeder insects, tame, entertaining
squeamish, traumatic experience, loud, creepy crawly bugs, great escape artist, hissing noise
nocturnal, little cardboard houses, orange exoskeleton, incredible breeders, periodic duels
The Perfect Companion
I rent a home from my mother, and she made it very clear to me that I was to have no roaches, no scorpions, and no burmese pythons. She had to include this in the contract because I have always wanted all three of these misunderstood lap animals. I have very little experience with the latter two, but the roach is one I have had a taste of, and I ache for more.
Cat is a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach I had the fortunate of knowing years back. When the rescue got him, they handed him off to an exotic animal refuge, who decided to use the young boy as an educational opportunity. They named him Cat because they asked a young person who came to the first show what they should name him. The young person said Cat because of his hissing sound. The young person was me.
After that day, I returned daily to help care for Cat, having grown much too attached in the short lesson they gave on the boy. The people were eager to show me how to take care of him. It was all rather easy procedure, actually. There was little he couldn't eat and remain healthy, he could tolerate pretty much any environment. What I found fascinating about him was his laid back, social behavior. His favorite activity was riding mine or his human's shoulder around while we tended to other animals there. He would never try to scurry away, and always seemed a bit put off when we dared put him into his home.
If someone wants a low maintenance animal that is capable of making you feel more loved than one could ever imagine for an insect, these animals are the way to go. I will never forget my time with Cat. The only reason I ever stopped visiting him was because we moved from Rhode Island to Virginia and, being a little kid, I wasn't exactly able to have a say in the matter..
From BhuvanaMcGoats Jun 2 2015 10:20AM
There should be a section for "hardcore" on the appearance part of the site
I mean, seriously, one of the best things about owning these roaches is that everyone who knows nothing about invertebrates (just about everyone) will think you are totally hardcore when you carry some of these around... and they have got to be one of the most docile and easy to keep invertebrates around.
For food, I gave them scraps of my own dinner (veggie trimmings, meaty leftovers, whatever...) and if the food wasn't very moist add a moistened papertowel for water or a very very shallow dish of water or spray the tank daily. The exact feeding and watering will depend on your personal setup, and if mold likes to grow in yours or not.
They will breed like crazy and next thing you know your tank will be a stinking cesspit of feces, food, and roaches if you don't make a plan of what to do with the babies. You can just keep one roach to prevent that or keep only one sex, but I find the behavior of the males with their satellite females very interesting to observe. Keeping only males would probably be exceedingly noisy and stressful to them, but I have never tried it and cannot say for certain... males do hiss at each other and compete for territories of females that they surround themselves with.
Note... I have seen these roaches kept with other species of winged roach. I tried this myself but there were simply too many hissers in my tank, and they literally ate the wings off the other roaches and basically out competed them for resources. So if you're breeding a lot for feeders, I wouldn't recommend mixing the species.. not all the pet roach species are compatible, even if their needs and temperament are similar.
I do recall having trouble with some climbing up the tank sides, but I can't remember how I solved it. In the picture I uploaded I see I tried the petroleum jelly trick, but I cannot recall for the life of me if it worked..
From serrus Jul 1 2015 7:24PM
My Hissing Disaster
NOT RECOMMENDED AT ALL.. On an adventure to the local exotic animal show we stumbled upon a booth with a group selling cockroaches. I had never really entertained the idea of owning a Pest before, But being the optimist I am I decided to buy 6 Adults. Everything started out fine, they were quite easy to maintain (so I thought) About 2 months into my ownership one of them died. It wasn't a very traumatic experience because as I said before they were in the Pest category in my mind for most of my life. Everything was fine until 2 more died about two months later. I thought my ownership was about to be upended by the death of the final sometime in the near future. One night I went to sleep with 3 3.5 inch cockroaches and woke up to over 50. The enclosure was almost full of cockroaches. Apparently while cleaning their enclosure I had introduced their eggs to the outside of the enclosure and they as well had hatched.. My 6 Roach investment turned into a large exterminating bill, At the end of 8 months I final had a bill from the pest control people, that was more than the original purchase price of the roaches and the up keep for the 5 months I tried to raise them.. It was a nightmare. I do not I REPEAT DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS ANIMAL..
From luckybcomputers Apr 15 2014 12:00PM