The Madagascan Tiger hissing cockroach is an easy to keep impressive pet. I have a few adults available.
It gets its name due to its banded abdomen and the hissing sound that they make when disturbed, as part of their mating rituals, and sometimes, for no clear reason at all! They will often hiss when picked up, but this defensive mechanism is as far as the threat goes, and they will not bite you! They are native to Madagascar, an island off the east coast of Africa, and live on average for two to three years, although they can live for as long as five years.
They grow to around three inches long at a maximum, and are pretty impresive.
Housing and keeping a Madagascan tiger hissing cockroach
The Madagascan hissing cockroach is at its happiest in a colony of several cockroaches together, for which you will need a glass or plastic tank (such as a fish tank) of around ten to fifteen gallons capacity.
The most important consideration when keeping cockroaches is securing them so that they cannot escape into the home, and so a secure and well fitting lid is of course essential! The floor of the tank will require an appropriate substrate, such as bark chip or bugbed. You should provide some hiding places within the tank as well, such as bark, driftwood or some cardboard tunnels.
As the Madagascan hissing cockroach is a tropical animal, the average room temperature of UK homes is likely to be a little low for them to be comfortable and thrive. You will usually need to provide a heater for their tank, to keep the temperature stable at between 24 and 32 degrees Celsius during the day, and not below 18 degrees Celsius at night. Cockroaches do not like bright light, and should not be kept in direct sunlight or in a tank with a powerful light in it or directed onto it.
While the Madagascan hissing cockroach does not need to live in a particularly humid environment, neither should it be too dry, and so the substrate of the tank should be lightly sprayed with a misting of clean water once a day.
Thy need a diet that is rich in calcium, to support the healthy growth of their hard exoskeleton. Cockroaches will eat more or less anything that you offer them, and some exotic pet retailers actually sell a specially designed complete food for cockroaches.
If you plan to feed your cockroaches a selection of foods, a good balanced diet could consist of cereals such as muesli, fresh fruit and vegetables such as apple, banana, lettuce, tomato and cucumber, and even dry dog food!