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Madagascar Hissing Cockroach


hissing cockroaches photo

Hissing Cockroaches

Lianne McLeod

Scientific Name:

Gromphadorhina portentosa

Life Span of Hissing Cockroaches:

2-3 years on average (sometimes up to 5!)


Madagascar hissing cockroaches reach a size of 1.5 to 3 inches long


Madagascar hissing cockroaches are dark reddish brown to black, with a hard exoskeleton and no wings.


Madagascar hissing cockroaches are hardy and docile and can easily be handled. Good for beginners.


A 10-15 gallon tank with house several Madagascar hissing cockroaches comfortably. Use a secure mesh lid. Aspen wood shavings (1-2 inches deep) can be sused for a substrate (don't use cedar or pine). 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.


Being tropical, hissing cockroaches do best if kept a bit above room temperature (tolerate anywhere from 75-90 F or 24-32 C).


Hissing cockroaches should be fed a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables (do not feed head lettuce, stick with romaine and other green leafy types) in combination with dry dog food. Carrots seem to be a universal favorite; oranges, apple, bananas, tomatoes, celery, squash, peas and pea pods, and others can be fed. Remove uneaten food after a while to avoid spoilage.

Water :

Water should be provided in a shallow dish with cotton or some other absorbent material in it to prevent cockroaches from drowning.


Hissing cockroaches have a pair of modified spiracles (the tubes insects use for breathing) that they use to produce the hissing sound that inspired their name. They will hiss when disturbed, and males hiss when courting females. Sometimes a whole colony will hiss in unison (for reasons not clear to us).
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