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Giant Madagascar Hissing Cockroach (gromphadorhina portentosa)
a.k.a "Hissers"
Updated: September 6th, 2012

We have stopped selling hissers.  I want to thank all our previous customers.  We will keep the website online as long as there is traffic and anyone that is interested in the information posted on this website.  Thank you.

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The Madagascar Hissing Cockroach is one of the larger roaches reaching 3-3.5 inches at maturity. The wingless invertebrate lives on the floor of the jungle. Their name comes from the fact that they are capable of making a hissing sound when disturbed or when courting. Forcing air out of parts of their abdomen produces this hissing sound. Its diet in the wild consists of fallen fruit and leaf litter.

Growth & Reproduction:
The female hisser gives birth every 30-60 days. She carries an egg case (ootheca) that hatches inside and gives "live" birth to 15-40 babies at a time. She will pass the ootheca after birth and the young or colony members will consume it. (Consider yourself lucky if you see this occur.) She is ready to breed again shortly after giving birth. The babies are white when born and darken up within a few hours. They are about the size of a small watermelon seed and are dark brown or black. They molt six or seven times before reaching maturity. It takes from 9 months to a year to mature, depending on climate and food supply. As they mature and molt their color can vary from dark brown or black to a golden brown depending on their diet. When they molt they are completely white except for their eyes that stay black.

Sexing:
The males as adults are easily identified by their horn-like protrusions from the pronutum (behind the head). The females do not have the horns; their pronutum is smooth with only slight bumps. The males are aggressive and will use their horns in battles against other males for dominance over territory and breeding rights.  The males are identified by their "horns" but they have some other differences from the females. The males' abdomen is flatter and has a triangle shape whereas the females' abdomen is plump and oblong in shape. (see Hisser Pix for comparison)   back to top




Care Sheet & Breeding Info.
Temperature & Humidity:
85°-95° F. is ideal for breeding. No Less Than 68° F. Room temperature will cause low or no reproduction but is fine for Hissers as pets or Feeders. Under tank heaters placed on the sides of habitat/tank is recommended.
Keep habitat as humid as possible without being wet. Around 80-90%, misting at least once a day is usually adequate.

Habitat/Tank & Lighting:
Floor space is more important than height. Egg flats placed vertically are usually used to create more floor space.
Oak leaves, red bran, vermiculite, can all be used as bedding. Potting soil is not recommended. It's harder to control unwanted pests and the young can burrow down into it making it nearly impossible to separate when cleaning the habitat.
No special lighting is needed. Hissers are nocturnal and will shy away from light. However, a red light will generate some heat and will allow you to view your hissers.

Food & Water:
Use finely ground dry dog food. Gut loading cricket food can be supplemented if feeding to reptiles, etc. Keep food available at all times. Fruits and vegetables can be used as a treat once in awhile but a high protein diet will keep hissers from cannibalizing others. Peel all fruit and veggies, pesticides can wipe out a colony.
Keep clean water available at all times. Placing paper towel, foam, or nylon aquarium floss in the dish will prevent drowning.    back to top

 
"Our Hissertory"
Like many that raise hissers, I started out with a need. Ever since I was a kid and had captured insects, newts, salamanders, frogs, toads, and snakes when it came to feeding, that's when it started to cost me money. It wasn't until just a few years back that the latest pet, a Gecko, had quite the appetite. How to keep the costs down? The habitat was cheap and simple enough, but the live food supply was a continuous expense. Crickets while not hard to rear were just not as appealing as Cockroaches. If you have heard complaints that most cricket breeders or anyone that has fed crickets has are they just aren't easy to keep and the smell, well, I won't even go down that road. Mouse breeding was fun, but they smell too. The Cockroach was a clear winner, but there are many species of Cockroaches out there, which one to choose? The Madagascar Hissing Cockroach. I did my homework and found out the basic stuff about hissers like that they don't fly (a key factor in my decision), they breed quickly and easily, and because of their behavior, would be fun too. What an interesting little animal. Their territorial nature makes for some interesting battles between the males.    back to top
 

Hisser Pix  (click picture for larger view)
hisser female top viewfemale top view 

hisser female side view
female side view

aborted oothecaaborted ootheca (actual size 1.5 in.)

hisser male top viewmale top view

hisser male side viewmale side view

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Used by permission only, just e-mail me. Click the "Click Here" link below.

 
 

Contact us
Questions about Hissers? Click Here to send us an e-mail.   back to top
Snail Mail:  Jim Siefert
                  PO Box 162
                  Norwich NY 13815

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