Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches 101

Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches get their name from the peculiar sound of hissing, that they make when they respirate. They actually do respiration through spiracles which are present on lateral sides of the abdomen. This hiss is used by hissers on different occasions, for example, they can use it when they are being disturbed, fight, or during mating, later two are used by males. As they are naturally found in islands of Madagascar, so they also get their name from the name of the place.


Description of Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches

Hissers can reach up to a size 4 inches in length. They can have a maximum weight of 25 grams. The color of the strong exoskeleton of the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach may range from dark brown to black. Different from other species of roaches, they don’t possess wings, however, they can run very fast or even on smooth surfaces like glass.

One of the distinguished feature of males from females is a pair of large tubercles on their head. They can be confused with the head by a newbie, however, their head is located under a pro-thorax and protected by these tough tubercles.


Care of Hissers

Take a tank of about 5 gallons having lid on it. Keep the lid tightly bound with the tank so that roaches may not get out of the box or push the lid. Don’t forget to make small holes in the lid so that they may get air for respiration. Don’t make holes more than 2cm wide, as they can escape from large holes. You can also apply petroleum jelly on the upper side of the walls to make them even more difficult for roaches to escape from the tank. A 5-gallon tank can accommodate 15 roaches, however, you can enlarge it by 1 gallon for every 5 roaches.

Wood chips, peat moss, or sphagnum are the best substrate for the hissers. You can also add empty trays of eggs and some rocks to give them hiding spaces and to make the environment more natural. Keep the moisture inside the tank from 60% to 70%. You can maintain it by sprinkling the water on the substrate daily. Keep the temperature between 21 °C to 27 °C because they are nocturnal and enjoy this temperature. You can also use an Infrared source of light to provide extra vitamin D3. Don’t forget to maintain hygiene measure inside the tank by keeping it clean.

You can use a bowl for watering the hissers. Keep a cotton ball or sponge soaked with water inside the bowl, so that roaches may not sink in the water. Vegetables and fruits like strawberry, lettuce, carrot, spinach, banana, and apple can be used as food. You can also use dog food and cat food to provide them with essential nutrients. Chalk, cuttlefish bones, or crushed eggshells can be used as a calcium source.


Care of Madagascar Nymphs

Female of Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches are ovoviviparous and gives birth to nymphs. They actually have sack inside their body where they hatch the eggs and give birth to Madagascar nymphs after 60 days of gestation. On average, a female gives birth to 30 nymphs at a time and 2 to 3 times in a year. These Madagascar nymphs can reach adulthood on their 5th of 6th molt which take about three months. You can keep these nymphs inside the separate tank if you have crowed of adults, otherwise, a large tank can work for them. Keep the temperature a little warm during the development stages of Madagascar nymphs.

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