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 reach 3 inches in length or more at maturity, and their unusual 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 insect, and lots of animals love them.
While a hissing cockroach may sound menacing, their bark is far worse than their bite. In fact, Madagascar hissing cockroaches don’t bite and won’t harm you or your animals. Despite the hiss, they are docile creatures. As roaches go, they’re 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 tame can usually be calmed in short order with regular handling. This makes them good candidates as feeders for insectivores that need large insects, and pets for people intrigued by 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 degrees F and feed them fruits, vegetables, and perhaps 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. 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 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 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 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.