Madagascar hissing cockroaches, as you can probably guess from the name, are native to Madagascar and in the wild are typically found residing inside rotting logs. In their natural habitat they usually consume fallen fruit; despite what most people think, these creatures do not eat meat or feces.
If you have just obtained a hissing cockroach, or are considering getting one, you might be thinking about the type of food to feed it with. Well, you might be glad to find out that there is no need to offer up live food as you would with some other exotic pet species.
Feeding a Hissing Cockroach
Fortunately, hissing cockroaches are relatively easy to care for. Moreover, when it comes to their diet there is plenty to choose from as these creatures enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables. Particular favorites include carrots and leafy greens. Indeed, a small colony of hissing cockroaches can eat an entire large carrot in a single day [source].
You could also provide foodstuff such as apples, peas, bananas, tomatoes, celery, and oranges. Note though that any uneaten food should be removed from the enclosure after a day or two as it will start to rot and consequently smell. And contrary to popular belief, hissing cockroaches in captivity will usually try to avoid rotten or decaying food.
In addition to fresh fruit and vegetables, your hissing cockroach will require a source of food that is relatively high in protein. Dried dog food is sufficient for this.
In addition to providing adequate amounts of food, it is important to give water to your cockroaches. Make sure you offer non-chlorinated water that is presented to them in a shallow dish. To prevent the cockroaches from accidentally drowning, place small rocks or pebbles in the dish on which they can climb to get a drink safely.
How Often Should You Feed Your Hissing Cockroach?
You do not need to provide fresh food every day, provided there is still fruit and vegetables in the enclosure. What you do need to ensure is that the cockroaches always have access to edible food. Just remove any food that is beginning to rot or go bad as they will not eat it.
What To Do If Your Hissing Cockroach Is Not Eating
You may notice that your hissing cockroach does not seem to be eating the food you are providing. This is something that often concerns new owners. Especially so those with little or no experience in taking care of these creatures and who are providing all of the recommended food items without success.
What we have found is that some hissing cockroaches will eat items within their container rather than the food provided. As well as fresh fruit and vegetables, hissing cockroaches have been known to nibble on leaves, cardboard, substrate, and bits of wood.
Some owners provide toilet paper or kitchen towel rolls in which their cockroaches can hide, without realizing that their insect has been nibbling away on it.
You also need to remember that hissing cockroaches are nocturnal and are most active at night. This is when they tend to move about looking for food, so your cockroach might be eating at night when you are asleep.
- Featured Image (Female Madagascar Hissing Cockroach): Nixisanalien – This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.
- Hissing Cockroach: Jarjarspringsteen – This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
- Madagascar Hissing Cockroach: Almabes – This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Almabes at English Wikipedia. This applies worldwide.