3 Important Tips: Taking Care of Hissing Cockroaches

Generally, hissing cockroaches are low maintenance insect pets, so they are easier to keep than other common domesticated pets. Before deciding to have them, it makes sense to know the best care practices, especially understanding how to provide a favorable environment for their growth and breeding.

So, how do you care for a hissing cockroach? To take care of the hissing cockroaches, you need to be keen on their housing, feeding, and other practices to make them more comfortable. The accommodation should be spacious enough to accommodate them and secure to protect them from predators and stop them from escaping. It is also crucial to provide them with fresh water and food, necessary for survival and breeding. Lastly, it would help if you made their environment comfortable by ensuring that the temperature and lighting are at the right levels.

Setting up favorable conditions will enable hissing cockroaches to grow faster, breed more, and be free from infections. By providing better shelter, lighting, and feeding will lead to a better environment for the hissing coackroach to live and survive in. This will help in keeping them content and more importantly, will help them stay healthy and promote their longevitiy.

Keeping hissing cockroaches in sub-standard conditions will be detrimental to their health, even life threatening, so it’s vital as much information is understood about ensuring their well-being and happiness. I spent a lot of time reading around this subject, looking for qualified advice not only from books, the internet but from veterinarians and owners, who all provided me with a wealth of information.

Let’s take a look at the 3 important tips every hissing cockroach owner must know.

1. Feeding

The Madagascar hissing cockroaches aren’t very picky when it comes to what they feed on, whether in captivity or the wild; they can eat almost everything we consume. However, like any other animals, they have their favorite meals. They love fresh fruits and vegetables such as oranges, bananas, carrots, and leafy veggies.

Similarly, they can indulge in vegetable peelings, so you may reconsider tossing them away while you cook. These foods will provide them with the minerals that they need. Moreover, the peelings are a great source of calcium, necessary for the exoskeleton’s growth after the molting process.

Being scavengers, the insects can also feed on animal carcasses if it is available. Besides, they can even eat small insects such as mites. It also helps that they eat high-protein foods like the ones you feed your dogs, cats, or fish.

If you are rearing hissers as feeders, they can make better feeders since they are easy to gut load. Hissers also need proteins to build their skeleton. It is also typical for them to eat the excess skin after molting as a protein supplement.

We recommend feeding your hissers strawberries, cabbages, bread crumbs, hard-boiled eggs, mushrooms, and almost any other human food. However, be keen on succulents that may contain toxic sap harmful to your pets. Secondly, the food you need to avoid providing is iceberg lettuce. It has low nutritious value; hence, it won’t have an impact on their growth or development. When you are keen on proper feeding, you will notice an overall improvement in their body and health. The proteins will accelerate their size, and their breeding will also improve.

Lastly, it is vital to confirm the source of the food you give them. If the fruits or vegetables were previously in contact with pesticides, it would be lethal to your insects. Similarly, the drinking water should be de-chlorinated, since they only drink fresh water.

Due to drowning cases, the best option is to serve the water in a sponge; placing it in a bowl may be risky if they fall into it. Another method is to use a wick drilled from one end of the aquarium and dipped into the water from the outside of the cage, and the wick will soak up water and convey it into the tank. It is from this end that they can quickly sap moisture from the wick, and it helps to keep the enclosure humid.

2. Housing

A simple housing would work for your roaches, especially if you are a starter. With a sizable bottle with adequate ventilation, you can effectively house one or two hissers before they start multiplying to form colonies. When the roaches breed and overstretch the housing, you can build a glass enclosure with a screen top.

Make sure that the shelter has enough air circulation. A five to ten-gallon fish tank can hold many Madagascar hissing cockroaches. It is also crucial that the lid is tight because hissers are known to be good climbers hence can easily climb a smooth glass and escape.

To prevent the hissing cockroaches from climbing the tank enclosure, you can smear petroleum jelly near the top. Doing so will scare them and hinder their movement past that point to eventually return to the colonies. You can put enough substrate below the tank and make it moist because the roaches sometimes use the damp substrate for hydration.

Additionally, you can occasionally moisten the cage, ensuring that you maintain the temperature at the optimal levels. If the temperatures are high, their metabolism increases, so they will be more active; this way, their breeding will improve.

Otherwise, at lower temperatures, they will be sluggish, and their performance will go down. You can also furnish it with tree branches or plastic tree-like logs that fit well in the enclosure’s interior. It will be useful in creating a natural environment for them. You can also add some materials such as cardboard for them to hide in during instars and breeding.

Substrates for Bedding

There are so many options to use as substrates for the enclosures’ floors; you can use soil, sawdust, plant leaves, or coconut fibers. The substrate should be about one inch thick, and you need to dampen it frequently. The dampening is essential to prevent fungi growth; hence, keeping the roaches safe from infections, thereby guarding you. A suitable substrate should be rot-resistant; otherwise, you will have to replace it frequently. The best hissers’ bedding should stay for up to half a year before replacement.

After placing the substrate, you also need to maintain it; this will make it last longer. It is vital to regularly remove leftover food to reduce fungi growth and excessive mite infestation. Also, when making the bedding moist, ensure that you don’t flood it because excess moisture will only facilitate fungi growth.

Some insect pet owners do not use substrate in the insect’s enclosure instead they furnish it with cardboards that the insects use for hiding; this way, the roaches will still flourish provided there is enough food and water.

3. Heating

While setting up a house for the hissing cockroaches, it is vital to ensure that you have a heating backup to regulate the enclosure temperatures. You can use heat sources to warm the hisser’s aquarium, and they are readily available in shops that deal with insect foods. Otherwise, you can consult your veterinarian on how to acquire a heat source.

The Madagascar hissing cockroach is a cold-blooded animal; therefore, it has varying body temperatures. However, to be active and have an improved metabolism, you may need an additional heat source for the insects in the cold season.

During the cold seasons, you can maintain the cage’s temperatures using a light bulb or any other heating device designed for such purposes; for instance, a synthetic rock that contains heating substances may suffice.

The insects are cold-blooded and can regulate their temperatures to optimum when under artificial conditions. If you are a commercial keeper, then high temperatures will favor breeding enabling you to rear more hissers.


The hissers are low-maintenance; so, caring for them isn’t tasking; you will still have enough time to perform other activities. They don’t need any special treatment, making them affordable pets to keep. You can even start with a well-ventilated transparent bottle and shift to a bigger enclosure as the population grows.

It is even less tasking if you wish to keep a solitary pet. It also helps that they are hardy insects and can go days without food and pull through many illnesses. Besides, they don’t need a special diet; hence, you can feed them typical human food like fruits and vegetables. Also, remember to provide them with optimal temperatures.

Bal Kang

Bal Kang is an owner of several pets including reptiles, cats and dogs. An avid writer, who loves to share her insights into caring for pets.

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