How To Care For Madagascan Hissing Cockroaches
Using advice from Mark Amey, VideoJug shows you how to best care for you Madagascan Cockroaches. These interesting animals make great pets, so learn to look after them properly with VideoJug.
Step 1: Housing and bedding
Cockroaches can be kept on their own or in groups, in a tank measuring about 40 centimetres by 25 by 25. It should be a well-ventilated glass or plastic tank with an escape-proof lid. Attach rubber feet to the base of the tank if the heat mat is attached underneath. Attach a heat mat on the outside of the enclosure to keep it between 25 and 30 degrees. Place a thermometer inside the tank to monitor the temperature. Line the floor with a thick layer of substrate such as cocoa fibre which should be soaked in water before being added to the tank. Don't use soil from your garden as it may contain stones or chemicals. The tank should be kept away from direct sunlight, radiators, draughts and chemicals such as fly sprays. Provide bark for your pet to climb and hide under. Spray the tank every other day with warm water to maintain the level of humidity at 60-70%. This can be checked with a hydrometer.
Step 2: Handling
Cockroaches don't really enjoy being handled, but if it is necessary to do so, gently scoop them up in an enclosed hand. In defence they will hiss and may kick out with their spiky legs or release a fluid which can stain your hands.
Step 3: Diet
Feed your cockroaches twice a week with enough food to be eaten in a couple of days. Give them fruit, vegetables and salad which should be washed to remove all traces of chemicals. Cockroaches also need calcium so provide a cuttlefish bone, natural chalk or crushed eggshells. Don't leave uneaten food in the tank for too long. They will get the water they need from a moist tank and the correct diet.
Step 4: Cleaning
Change the substrate every week. The entire tank should be washed about once a month. Wash the tank with warm water only as detergents may be harmful.
Step 5: Health
Your cockroaches should have few health problems if kept in the right conditions. A healthy cockroach has a clean, unbroken shell, and no unusual lumps or patches on its body. As your cockroaches grow they will shed their skin. The new shell will be soft and white and will take a few hours to harden off. They shouldn't be touched or fed while they are shedding.
Have fun with your cockroaches.