Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches…
-do not smell.
-do not spread germs.
-can not bite or sting.
-are safe and easy for beginning
exotic pet keepers.
-need minimal attention, and no
affection, to be healthy.
-can live up to 3-5 years with
-are interesting and unique pets!
Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches, or “Hissers,” are communal and can get along well with each other if they have enough space and hiding spaces. Depending on the number of Hissers, they can be happy in a critter keeper, a Tupperware, even a plastic salad container with holes punched in the lid. A 10 gallon tank with a lid can keep a number of them comfortably. Bark or coconut coir like Eco Earth is a good choice for bedding. Corn cob or even dirt free of trace pesticides can also be used (they are insects, remember, and bug sprays, even old ones, can hurt them!)
Cages can be set up with sticks to climb on and a
variety of hiding places. They can be as simple as
used toilet paper rolls or as fancy as decorative
aquarium caves and logs.
Pro Tip: Escapees can be avoided by spreading a
ribbon of Vaseline along the top of the tank!
Lighting and Heat
Hissers are nocturnal and do not need expensive UVB bulb lights like many reptiles, making them a good choice for first-time pet owners. Some people do like to have a red light or blue light for night viewing. If your house is kept pretty cold, or you wish to breed Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches, you will want to stick on an under tank heater. Otherwise, room temperature should be fine. 75 to 85 F is preferred.
Hissers primarily eat plant matter, but can also eat protein, especially if you are breeding them to feed another animal like a lizard or sugar glider. Some food choices are carrots, romaine, red leaf lettuce, apples, various over-ripe fruits, and commercial rodent blocks or dry dog food.
Pro Tip: I keep roaches as pets, but also use them as a food source for my other animals, so they need to have extra protein. I like to blender. This is easier for the baby roaches to Because of the risk of drowning is high with Hissers, use pebbles in the water dish, a chick waterer, a commercial cricket
waterer, or some other safe option. Another
These work very well, but can be pricey. Also, ONLY
use the original, calcium-free, variety for roaches.
Hissers also enjoy a light misting from time to time.
Just be sure not to make things so wet that they get
Despite their yucky reputation, Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches do not carry harmful diseases to humans! However, as with any animal, it is recommended that you thoroughly wash your hands after handling your Hissers. (for more information about health and safety, go here.)