Why You Should Consider The Madagascar Hissing Cockroach For A Pet

Why You Should Consider The Madagascar Hissing Cockroach For A Pet

The Madagascar Hissing Cockroach For A Pet

Madagascar hissing cockroaches ? sometimes referred to as ?hissers? or ?maddies? by enthusiasts ? are hard-shelled, flightless insects that are native to the island of Madagascar?

Whilst that can be instantly off-putting to many, for those with an interest in unusual pets, maddies are a great choice.

Size and appearance

One of the larger species of cockroach, full-grown maddies regularly reach a length of 2 to 3 inches. They have hard chitinous shells and, in the males, a small pair of horns growing from the front of these.

The Madagascar Hissing Cockroach For A Pet

Madagascar hissing cockroaches are social insects that live in colonies and have seemingly complex interactions with one another. The hissing noise comes from air blown through spiracles on the sides of their abdomens. Occasionally, an entire colony of maddies will hiss in time with one another. Whilst we don?t know the reason for this form of communication, it is certainly a unique sound to encounter.

They are vegetarian and entirely non-aggressive. They do not bite or pinch, though they can make a loud hissing noise if you surprise or disturb them.

The Madagascar Hissing Cockroach For A Pet
Madagascar hissing cockroaches are long-lived by insect standards, living anywhere between three and five years in captivity, given proper pet care and attention.

A large aquarium is all you really need to house your roaches. Unlike other species, Madagascar hissing cockroaches cannot climb up a smooth glass surface, so there is little chance of them escaping.

Maddies love to climb, so throw in some bits of driftwood, and maybe even a couple of live plants so that they have plenty of room to explore.

As they can’t climb vertical walls, make sure your aquarium is wide, rather than tall, with plenty of horizontal space for them.

Maddies are not fussy eaters, being satisfied with most leafy, green vegetables, mixed with some harder food ? peaches, apples, celery ? for variety. A particular favourite of this species is the humble carrot. A shallow dish of water with a sponge in it (so the cockroach can get out of the water, if it cannot get back over the side) is more than enough, as they take most of their water in with their food.

And there you have it ? beautiful, social, and fascinating insects that are easy to keep and feed, and require a minimum of maintenance. Why not start raising your own colony of maddies?

How to House a Tarantula

If you are planning on getting yourself a pet tarantula, you’re going to need to learn how to take care of your new arachnid friend. Here’s some information to consider when housing your new spider:

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Tank size and type

Make sure you research your specific species of tarantula so that you can get them exactly what they need to be comfortable. You won’t necessarily need a large house for your spider, depending on the species. A tank which is too large may actually be a bad idea, as it can make a spider’s prey difficult to find.

If you have a terrestrial or burrowing tarantula, you should purchase a tank which is around three times the spider’s leg span in length and twice the leg span in width. Aquariums often work well for housing spiders, ranging in size from around a two and a half to a five-gallon tank.

Typically, you don’t want a tank that’s too tall as it can be dangerous or even fatal for the spider if it falls. However, arboreal tarantulas will require a tall tank. This is so they have room to climb, and you’ll also need climbing apparatus like branches so the spider can spin its web.

Spiders aren’t social animals, so it’s sensible to house your tarantula alone to prevent them from getting agitated. All tanks will require a ventilated lid which has been carefully secured, as tarantulas are very good at escaping. At the bottom of the tank, you’ll need to provide a substrate of vermiculite which is between two and four inches deep. This gives the spider room to burrow. Burrowing types of tarantula will need a specific type of substrate, and all tarantulas will require places to hide in their cage.

Heating and light

Your tarantula will need heating pads in their tank. Most species of tarantula prefer the temperature between 75 and 85 degrees. Keep the cage away from windows and overly lit areas of the room, as tarantulas actually prefer darkness.

Caring for stick insects

Found predominantly in the subtropics and tropics, stick insects can make awesome pets, especially for anyone who loves creepy crawlies. They are also great for people who don’t have as much time or space to care for larger animals.

Where to house your stick insect

Your stick insects will require an enclosure, net-cage or terrarium. The minimum requirements for the size of your cage should be three times the height of the insect and twice the width. If you decide to look after multiple stick insects, you’ll need to factor this in regarding the size of your cage. Stick insects require all of this space because they use it when they’re moulting.

Cover the floor of the enclosure with a substrate that absorbs moisture, like tissue paper, pebbles or potting earth. The tank will need to be cleaned regularly, as stick insects produce a lot of droppings. The enclosure’s roof needs to be made from mesh or netting to ensure that the stick insects can use it to hang from when they are moulting.

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What to feed your stick insect

The leaves that your stick insect will eat depend on its species, so make sure you do some research into which species your stick insect is and supply it with the correct food. Stick insects will only eat leaves that are fresh, so to make sure that the leaves you give them are kept fresh, put the branches (with leaves on) in a container with a small amount of water. This helps to keep them tasty for your pets.

The temperature and humidity to keep your stick insect comfortable

Again, you will need to do some research into the particular species of your insect to find out what temperature they like to be kept at. To ensure proper humidity, you will need to spray water into the tank between once a day and once a week, depending on the type of tank and species you have.


The notion of cockroaches as pet

Cockroaches: everyone knows them and most of them hate them. But not all! There are many large and beautiful species that have mascot. Most of them are not at all like the species that infest houses! On this page you can find information on the morphology, senses, life cycle, and natural habitat of a cockroach. At the bottom of the page you will find general advice and quick information on caring for cockroaches.

Morphology of a Cockroach

Cockroaches have the same physique plan as other insects: three body segments (head, thorax and abdomen), six legs, two pairs of wings, two antennae and two eyes. Some species have underdeveloped wings that they can not use to fly. Others have wings of normal size, but still are not able to fly.
The cockroach head is generally oriented downwards and covered by its dorsal shield (which in fact is an extension of the thorax that reaches up over the head). When you see a cockroach from above, the head is not visible in most species.

The senses of a cockroach

Cockroaches have the same senses as us: sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch. Your senses are not located in the same organs as in humans! Cockroaches can hear with their paws. In fact they feel vibrations with their legs instead of with a structure like the ear. Your sense of smell is located on your antennae. Cockroaches have compound eyes, with which they can perceive light, including ultraviolet light.

Development and life cycle

Cockroaches are part of heterometábolos or hemimetábolos: they have an incomplete metamorphosis. Newborn cockroaches look exactly like adult cockroaches, with some small differences (egg, absence of wings). These nymphs change their skin every few weeks, advancing to a larger nymph stage. Newborn nymphs are called L1 nymphs, the next molts are L2, and so on until they are adults. Adults can be recognized by their wings; nymphs do not have wings and adults do. Some species never develop wings, even when they reach adulthood.
The eggs of the cockroaches are in sacks of eggs called ootheques. These ootecas are made of a kind of foam to protect the eggs. Some species of cockroaches drop their ootheques on the ground, others stick them in a chosen place, and others keep them inside their body until the nymphs hatch.

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Natural habitat

Cockroaches are found on all continents (except Antarctica) and almost all countries. This implies that their habitat is also very diverse; some cockroaches live in humid conditions, others in droughts, in hot, cold places, etc. Most of the species that have mascot live in humid environments in the tropics. These cockroaches are usually very large and easy to take care of, which contributes to their popularity.

Keeping Pet Cockroaches

In the pages about specific species of cockroaches you can find all about the care of these species. Here is just some quick information about caring for cockroaches as pets.

Accommodation for your cockroaches

Your cockroaches need a terrarium or container in general that is safe, leak-proof and large enough. Young cockroach nymphs can escape through the smallest cracks because their body is very flat. The sliding doors that are commonly used for terrariums have an open space between the doors through which young cockroaches can escape. Some species of cockroaches can walk through plastic and glass vertically, while others do not. Some species can fly. Be sure to check what the species of your choice can do, or use an escape-proof container for it.

The size of the tank depends on how many cockroaches you want to have and what size they are. In general, the tank should be at least 6 times larger than the space that cockroaches cover. This way, they have enough room to walk around and get away from each other if they want. Bigger is always better.

You need to give cockroaches a good substrate and places to hide. Whatever is appropriate depends on the species of cockroaches you have; some need a humid environment, others need a dry one. For humid environments you can put wet soil in general in the bottom of the tank. As hiding places, you can put tree bark, flat stones and wood. For dry environments you can cover the floor with oats and you can put egg cartons or small cardboard structures as hiding places.


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