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    Thread: Giant Madagascar Hissing roaches care sheet

    1. #1
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      Giant Madagascar Hissing roaches care sheet

      Well, Scoolman here sold me a few hissing roaches. I thought I'd share some tips for thier upkeep.

      This is a quote from my review on another site,,,


      Facinating exotic pet, excellent feeder insect
      I bought about 3 adult male and 5 adult female hissing roaches from an acquaintance about 6 months ago, primarily as feeders for my tarantulas. I now have a rather large colony. Hissing cockroaches are very easy to keep and breed. They are quite harmless, do not fly, nor do they smell. Adult roaches do have rather large leg spikes, however, and these can hurt.. Getting 'nailed' by leg spikes is rather rare, I mention only as a warning. Overall, hissers are quite docile, but believe it or not, this will vary between individual roaches. Of maybe 12 adults, I have only been able to handle my largest female, and one male. (the male actually wanted to 'play') Hissers can easily climb plastic or glass, and can really 'hang on' to a person if they wish. To avoid injuring a hisser, it is recommended to allow them to walk from one person to another, rather than trying to remove them by force. I have good luck 'herding' adults by just nudging them on thier 'butts', so to speak. While adult hissers are fairly slow, the nymphs and juveniles can be quite fast.
      Hissers make fine pets or feeder insects. The main concerns for keeping them is maintaining proper temperature and humidity. Hissers need high humidity of 80% or so, and temps. never less than 75 degrees F. For breeding, the temp. should be 85, but not higher than 90, to minimize deaths. Hissers have more 'meat on the bones', so to speak, than many other feeder insects, and are considered one of the best, nutritionally-speaking. Very little is left behind after my tarantulas eat a nymph or juvenile hisser. Hissers eat a variety of fruit and vegetables, and oats. Some people give ground up dry cat or dog food as well. (Avoid pet foods with artificial dyes in it, however) In my experience, this may not even be needed. My colony is thriving with a wide variety of produce and rolled oats. (tho, strangely... they like plain Cheerios better..) Hissers are quite inexpensive to own, especially if you are good, and eat your veggies! I just set aside any produce trimmings for my roaches, with ripe fruit as the weekly 'treat'. Fruit will rot readily in that humid environment, so I give fairly small portions, and remove any uneaten fruit after 1 or 2 days. I also take a small amount of veggies and cut them up into rather small pieces, these are easier for nymphs and juveniles to eat. My hissers are rather picky eaters.. Favorite foods, in order are: fresh corn (they stripped a small ear totally bare), collard greens, spinach, organic baby carrots, potato, sweet potato, red cabbage, sweet 'red' apples (hissers do not like sour apples), and celery. Breeders recommend that dark leafy greens, red cabbage, and sweet potato be fed regularly, as these vegetables are very good for the roaches' exoskeletons. Nymphs and juvies especially love to just lay in the food dish, to feed at their leisure, although this makes cleaning a little challenging.. Also, hissers may gradually change color over time, depending on their diet.
      The only downsides to hissing cockroaches is that, well... they Are cockroaches. I have told people that I have 'tropical beetles' , rather than saying 'tropical roaches' , because of the stigma. 'You raise roaches??! On Purpose???' Oh well... And, as you might expect, roaches breed like... roaches. The science teacher that I bought mine from did a breeding potential experiment with hissers.... under ideal conditions, one adult male and female hisser could produce 50,000 hissers in a year... It's not likely that most people will end up with this many.. but they do breed prolifically. To keep my numbers down, I separated 6 mixed adults, and put them in an area that stays Just below 84 degrees or so. This prevents them from breeding. I recently added a small battery operated fountain to keep the humidity up. Make sure that rocks are piled over the rather large inlet holes, so nymphs won't drown. My roaches seem to really like the fountain, I always see adult hissers 'take a bath' in it. I have learned to change the batteries while the adults are taking 'a dip'.

      Click image for larger version. 

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      Last edited by marcfrick2112; 06-08-2011 at 01:33 PM. Reason: add pics..finally.. lol
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      Great info Marc. I have only 20 juvi hissers but I love them. They are great pets. My friend who also keeps them has hundreds of them, he has one huge female and I mean she was huge about 4" if I recall correctly.

      I have corn at home I will put some in now. No wonder they don't touch my apples. I only keep the sour ones. Great tips!

      Add some photos to your thread as well.

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    5. #3
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      BayLee, I added 2 pics. I'll try to add one or 2 more soon.. but, sadly, the SAME DAY the old forum went down, my camera's mem card got corrupted... lost all my hisser/Tpics... boo!
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      Very nice Marc, I love the fountain you have with your Hissers, I need to get one myself.

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      My early set-up
      Click image for larger version. 

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      This is what happens when you keep them warm. And this my separation tank, there are still that many in the main tank.
      Click image for larger version. 

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      Here is an adult male, old man who has lost his dominance and on his way out. I only get one giant dominant male at a time. Not until he passed did another male grow to be as large and take his place.
      Click image for larger version. 

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      Here is an example of the dark form I get frequently
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      Nymphs emerging
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      Relax! Take it easy. This is not an instantaneous hobby. It's a long term "getting to know you" sort of thing. There's plenty of time, perhaps a whole lifetime, to enjoy these phenomenal creatures. Patience. One step at a time. One day at a time. No worries. -Stan Schultz

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    9. #6
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      Scool, nice pics! Have never been able to catch my hissers actually having kids...
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      I am planning to rehouse my 20 juvies tomorrow and am planning to add a little fountain. Where did you find yours again?
      I have also given mine collard greens, but I don't see them eating it at all.

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      Quote Originally Posted by BayLee View Post
      I am planning to rehouse my 20 juvies tomorrow and am planning to add a little fountain. Where did you find yours again?
      I have also given mine collard greens, but I don't see them eating it at all.
      I believe in one of his posts that he got his fountains from wal mart during a sale.

    12. #9
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      Actually, I got the fountains at Walgreens. Unfortunately, they are not too reliable, they are not really meant for near-continuous use. I may try buying a small DC fountain pump, and rig up my own.

      BayLee, Odd that yours don't like collards, tho mine only eat the leaves, and leave the stems. Of course, every care sheet I have read recommends baby carrots, yet that is my hissers least favorite food... No accounting for taste, as they say..

      Maybe you could try kale, or similar. Dark, leafy greens are very good for hissers, just like they are good for people, LOL!
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      Gabby - 5.5" MM G. pulchripes
      Laila - 3" Aphono. 'NR'
      Lorenzo- MM G. pulchripes
      The babies:
      Jinx and Minx - PZB twins
      Remi - A. diversipes (R.I.P.)
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      I will try spinach, I got plenty. :-)

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      Somewhere on a desert highway.
      She rides a Harley Davidson.
      Her Long Blond Hair Flyin' in the wind.
      She's been runnin' half her life.
      The chrome and steel she rides,
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      The air she breaths.

      Unknown Legend - Neil Young



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