The Madagascar hissing cockroach (Gromphadorhina portentosa), also known as the hissing cockroach or simply “hisser”, is among the largest cockroach species in the world. They can reach up to 3 inches in length, and their unusually large size and generous protein content make them excellent feeders for large insectivores. Naturally, you can dust and gut load Madagascar hissing cockroaches like any other feeder, and lots of animals love them.
While a cockroach that hisses may sound menacing, their bark is far worse than their bite. In fact, Madagascar hissing cockroaches don’t tend to bite and won’t harm you or your animals. Despite the hiss, they are very docile and shy creatures. The exception may be an occasional nibble on a finger containing food, but it appears they do this unintentionally. They usually scamper away when they realize what they’re doing.
As roaches go, Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches are not particularly fast-moving, and they have lost much of their natural fear of humans. Individual specimens are often “tame” from the start, and those that aren’t can usually be calmed in short order. It just takes regular, gentle handling. This makes them good candidates as feeders for insectivores that need large insects, and pets for people who like giant cockroaches.
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 animals is 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 seven extra-large Dubia roaches.
Breeding Madagascar hissers is easy too, though they reproduce slowly. Just keep them in a dark place around 80°F and feed them fruits, vegetables, and maybe some meatless chow. We suggest avoiding dog and cat food because its quality is often questionable. What your roaches eat eventually ends up in your pets, so be cautious. Cockroaches are scavengers and will eat almost anything, so we suggest being selective with their feeding.
Before you buy Madagascar hissing cockroaches, be sure you can house them. They can climb any surface, including glass, and you will 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 along the inner walls. This helps 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 fancy containers. In this case, you only need to hold them until they’re fed off. 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!
NOTE: We sell these roaches primarily as feeders and they are not sexed.