What is the Best Substrate for Hissing Cockroaches?

Hissing Cockroach

Written by Anthony

I am a content creator by profession but exotic animals are one of my great passions in life. Over the course of my adulthood, I have had the pleasure of looking after stick insects, terrapins, an Egyptian tortoise, giant African land snails, a crested gecko, a Chilean rose tarantula, a couple of curly-haired tarantulas, and a selection of millipedes, centipedes and worms!

Last Updated on October 26, 2020

Madagascar hissing cockroaches make for great insect pets as they are docile, inexpensive, and easy to care for. These fascinating creatures are also easy to handle and, when it comes to enclosures, you do not need much room to house them.

Housing for Hissing Cockroaches

As long as you have good ventilation, you could house your hissing cockroach in a half-gallon container with ease. However, if you are planning on having a colony of these insects, you will need something a bit bigger (say around ten gallons).

As hissing cockroaches like to climb, a screen top is going to be necessary. They can easily climb glass, so make sure they cannot escape from the top of the container. Many hissing cockroach owners like to rub a layer of petroleum jelly (Vaseline) around the top internal rim of the tank to prevent their hissing cockroaches from escaping, especially if there are nymphs that could more easily escape through the screen top.

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach
Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

Bedding for Hissing Cockroaches

When it comes to a substrate, there are a number of options you could look at. Some owners like to use orchid bark on the floor of their tank while others prefer a substrate made from coconut husk. Coconut based substrate is popular as it is both mold preventing and cost effective.

In fact, some coconut-based substrates actually encourage the growth of a white fungus that is not harmful to humans and which hissing cockroaches like to eat.

Nevertheless, whatever substrate you do decide to use, you need to ensure it does not have mold. You will need to keep the tank humid, but rather than spraying the floor directly it is best to spray the walls of the enclosure instead.

Female Madagascar Hissing Cockroach
Female Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

What Else Will You Need?

In addition to a nice substrate in which your hissing cockroaches can hide, it is a good idea to place obstacles in the enclosure in and on which your hissing cockroaches can climb and hide. Think cork rounds or flats. Some individuals like to put the empty rolls of paper towel or toilet paper or even egg cartons inside their tanks as their hissers like these. You might even find that they have been munching on them as well as eating their fresh fruit and vegetables.

Remember that Madagascar hissing cockroaches hail from a tropical rainforest, so they will need a humid environment and access to water. Spray the tank every other day and ensure that there is fresh water for them to drink. It is best to place a small bowl of water in the tank that is filled with small stones or pebbles on which they can climb. This will prevent any accidents.

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