The Madagascar hissing cockroach (Gromphadorhina portentosa), also known as the hissing cockroach or simply “hisser”, is among the largest cockroach species, reaching 3 inches or more at maturity. Their unusually large size and generous protein content make them excellent feeders for large insectivorous reptiles and other similarly-proportioned animals. Naturally, they can be gutloaded and dusted like any other omnivorous feeder insect, and lots of animals love them.
Hissing cockroaches may sound menacing, but 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 and, dare we say…tame. They’re not particularly fast, and if these roaches are any indication, gigantic insects may lose their fear of humans.
Feeding hissers to insectivorous animals is straightforward. There are no special requirements, and our only advice is to feed them one at a time because they are accomplished escape artists. More on their expert climbing abilities below.
Breeding hissers is easy too – though they’re slow to reproduce. Just keep them in a dark location around 80 degrees and feed them fruits, vegetables, and perhaps some meatless chow. We suggest avoiding dog and cat food because quality is often questionable, and because what your feeders eat eventually ends up in your animals. Cockroaches are scavengers and will eat almost anything, so be selective about what you feed them. If you don’t exercise restraint, no one will.
Before you buy Madagascar hissing cockroaches, be sure you can house them. They can climb any container surface, including glass, so you’ll need a bin with either a tight-fitting lid or a 2-inch wide strip of petroleum jelly or silicone grease along the inner walls. Either of these is usually enough to prevent escape. We’ve seen a few tiny ¼-inch nymphs evade these anti-escape measures, but never adults. For feeders, you don’t need anything fancy.
If your animal has outgrown Dubia roaches or you’re just looking for a supplemental feeder, give hissers a try!
NOTE: We sell these roaches as feeders and they are not sexed.