The Madagascar hissing cockroach (Gromphadorhina portentosa), also known as the hissing cockroach or simply “hisser”, is among the largest cockroaches in the world. They can grow up to 3 inches in length, and their substantial size and generous protein content make them excellent feeders for large insectivores. They also have enormous appetites, making them excellent candidates for gut loading.
While cockroaches that hiss may sound menacing on the surface, their bark is just for show. In fact, Madagascar hissing cockroaches are generally considered harmless. They don’t tend to bite and they won’t harm you or your animals. They are mostly docile, shy creatures. While they sometimes nibble a finger in their search for food, they are not what we would consider aggressive.
As roaches go, Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches are not particularly fast-moving, and they have little fear of humans. Individual specimens are often “tame” from the start, and those that aren’t can usually be calmed in short order. This just takes regular, gentle handling. While they make excellent feeders, they’re also unusual pets or exotic specimens for those fascinated by giant insects.
We raise all of our hissers the same way as our Dubia and other roaches, which means we feed them fresh fruits and vegetables along with our own roach chow blend.
Feeding Madagascar hissing cockroaches to insectivores is easy and straightforward. There are no special rules, 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 five to ten extra-large Dubia roaches, depending on size and feeding status.
With respect to food and nutrition, consider that what you feed them ends up in your pets, so be cautious. Cockroaches are scavengers and will eat almost anything, so you are in charge of quality control. The better nutrition you provide them, the healthier feeders they will be for your animals.
Breeding Madagascar hissers is easy, though they do reproduce slowly. Keep them in a dark place around 80°F and feed them fruits, vegetables, and maybe some meatless chow. We suggest avoiding commercial pet food because the quality may be questionable.
There are lots of good resources available online. When you do research, pay particular attention to diet and environment – particularly light/dark, temperature, and humidity.
Be sure you can house these roaches before you buy them. They can climb any surface, including glass. To contain them, you will need a bin sealed with a tight-fitting lid or a 2-inch strip of petroleum jelly on the inner walls.
Housing feeder hissers doesn’t require a fancy container. You just need something that holds them securely until you feed them off. A small plastic container with some air holes in the lid works fine. However, if you plan on 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! They also make interesting pets if you’re so inclined, with a lifespan that in our estimation may be as long as a couple years when conditions are ideal.
NOTE: We sell these roaches primarily as feeders and they are not sexed. However, if you have a request, let us know in the message box at checkout. We will do what we can, based on availability.