The Madagascar hissing cockroach (Gromphadorhina portentosa), also known as the hissing cockroach or simply “hisser”, is among the largest cockroach species in the world, reaching 3 inches or more at maturity. Its unusual size and generous protein content make it an excellent feeder for large insectivorous reptiles and other similarly-proportioned animals. Naturally, you can dust/gutload Madagascar hissing cockroaches like any other omnivorous feeder insect, and lots of animals love them.
While hissing cockroaches may sound menacing, their bark is worse than their bite…in that they don’t bite at all and won’t harm you or your animals. They’re actually very docile insects. Madagascar hissing cockroaches are not particularly fast-moving as roaches go, and they’ve largely lost their fear of humans. Individual specimens are often “tame” right from the start, while those that aren’t can usually be calmed in short order with regular handling.
Feeding Madagascar hissing cockroaches to insectivorous animals is straightforward. There are no special rules or requirements, and our only advice is to feed them one at a time because they are accomplished escape artists. You can read more about their expert climbing abilities below. With respect to feeding and volume, one large Madagascar hissing cockroach is roughly equal to four or five extra large Dubia.
Breeding Madagascar hissers is easy too, although they are slow to reproduce. Just keep them in a dark location around 80 degrees F and feed them fruits, vegetables, and perhaps some meatless chow. We suggest avoiding dog and cat food because their quality is often questionable, and because what your roaches eat eventually ends up in your pets. Cockroaches are scavengers and will eat almost anything, so we suggest being selective about what you feed them. If you don’t exercise restraint, no one will. The roaches themselves certainly won’t.
Before you buy Madagascar hissing cockroaches, be sure you can house them. They can climb any surface, including glass, and you’ll need something that can hold them. This means either a container sealed with a tight-fitting lid or a bin lined with a 2-inch strip of petroleum jelly or silicone grease along the inner walls. Either method works to prevent most escapes. We’ve seen a few tiny ¼-inch nymphs manage to get out, but never adults. Consider that housing feeders doesn’t require a fancy container. In this case, they only need to be held until they’re fed off. However, if you’re breeding Madagascar hissing cockroaches, you will need something a bit more accommodating.
The bottom line is that Madagascar hissing cockroaches make great feeders. If your animal has outgrown Dubia roaches or you’re just looking for a supplemental feeder, consider giving Madagascar hissers a try!
NOTE: We sell these roaches as feeders and they are not sexed.