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Facts About the Surprisingly Adorable Hissing Cockroaches

The hissing cockroach, also known as the Madagascar hissing cockroach, is a favorite pet animal for many people. To know more facts about hissing cockroach, read on....
Geeta Dhavale
Last Updated: Apr 22, 2018
Hissing cockroaches are wingless, shiny brown and oval shaped insects from the island of Madagascar. Hissing cockroaches are little different from their other counterparts. Hissing cockroaches are clean, odorless, hygienic and harmless as they do not bite, and unlike other common cockroaches are slow walkers.
A fully grown hissing cockroach measures almost 2-3 inches in length and is a very good climber. The male and female hissing cockroach can be easily distinguished from their external appearance.
The males have thicker and hairier antennae compared to females, and males also possess horns on their heads. The female cockroaches are generally smaller in size as compared to male cockroaches.
Facts about Hissing Cockroach
The popularity of the hissing cockroach is growing increasingly, and because of its unique hissing sound, glossy appearance, and large size, it is considered as one of the most adorable species for pet adoption. The noise produced by these cockroaches sounds somewhat like a hissing of a snake, and hence they have been christened as hissing cockroaches.
Madagascar cockroaches can force air through their breathing pores, called spiracles, that are situated on their abdomen. These are the only species among cockroaches who can hiss using spiracles, as other insects who hiss do so by using various body parts and vibrating membranes.
The fights between two hissing males are spectacular and impressive to observe. Males crash into each other using their horns and pushing each others abdomen. Hissing plays a significant role in such aggressive male fights. The cockroaches try to assess the size of the enemy by hissing, and try to show their strength by hissing.
Generally, the bigger cockroaches win in such battles. In such situations hissing becomes the way to show superiority over the losing cockroach. Male cockroaches also have the ability to distinguish hisses between familiar cockroaches and of strangers.
For Madagascar cockroaches, hissing is also important during mating or courtship interactions with the opposite sex. Males hiss to attract females by showing their hissing strength. Hissing is also vital in colony hierarchy, as hissing cockroaches live in groups.
Apart from this, hissing cockroach hisses when it is man handled or disturbed and this is known as a disturbed hiss. The female cockroach and nymphs produce only disturbed hisses.
Hissing Cockroach Habitat
These facts include lots of interesting things as they have a unique life cycle. The hissing cockroach is the largest species of cockroach on earth and generally lives in moist places. Unlike other cockroaches, it is not a domestic cockroach that inhabits human dwellings, but prefers living in jungles.
It is found in wood logs, rotten leaves, and in other trash and debris. Hissing cockroach diet includes fruits and vegetarian food material or any kind of pellet food high on protein. Like other nocturnals they are inactive during the day and get moving in the night to search for meals.
The hissing cockroach breeding cycle is also very unusual. The female hissing cockroaches carry the egg bag, known as ootheca, inside their body and release the young nymphs when the eggs are hatched. They can carry as many as 60 eggs in their ootheca.
Like some other insects, the hissing cockroach and it's offspring try to stay in close physical proximity for a certain period, till the young ones learn to live independently.
People who have kept hissing cockroaches as pets have some unusual facts to share. According to them, one feels tingled or prickled when the hissing cockroaches crawl on their body. Some people also feel ticklish when they crawl.
Hissing Cockroaches are very docile, but very tough and can survive for quite some time without food. This quality of them makes it an ideal pet as it does not require much care. And though many people find cockroaches repulsive, the Madagascar hissing cockroach is a pretty popular pet in some places.