Hissing Cockroaches

Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches Pet – Things You Should Know

The main purpose of this article is all things you need to know about hissing cockroaches. The Madagascar hissing cockroach is a large cockroach, usually 2 to 3 inches long and 1 inch wide. They get their name from the island of Madagascar, off the coast of Africa. These insects are also known as Madagascar cockroaches, giant cockroaches, hissing cockroaches, or just hissers. Gromphadorhina portentosa is their scientific name.

Did you know? 99 percent of all cockroach species are not household pests.

Cockroach terminology There are a variety of insects that lay eggs, but Madagascar hissing cockroaches create a cocoon-like egg case called an ootheca, which they use to carry their eggs (and neonatal nymphs) inside. The nymphs then give birth to up to 60 living young.

Cerci are an appendage (part of the body that extends from the main body) that the roach uses to sense objects in its environment. The two cerci are at the end of the abdomen.

Hissing cockroach behavior and facts

  • The hissing cockroach lives in large colonies.
  • During male cockroach fights, they hiss when threatened by a predator or to sound an alarm for other roaches in the colony. They breathe through small holes on their backs called spiracles. When they force air out of the spiracle quickly, it makes a hissing sound. Vertebrates use the respiratory system audibly more often (such as when humans sigh loudly). The majority of insects that produce noise do so by vibrating their membranes or rubbing their body parts together.
  • At night, they are most active.
  • Males have large horns that they use in aggressive encounters, such as battles between horned or antlered mammals. As they fight, rivals ram each other with their horns or their abdomens. Roaches hiss more when they win than when they lose, so the sounds may help identify roach hierarchy.
  • These animals play an important role in the food chain, breaking down forest debris and providing food to larger animals.

Understanding Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches

To help you understand hissing cockroaches, I will mention a few important points.


  • Size: They grow up to 7.5 cm in length, making them one of the largest cockroach species.
  • Color: Madagascar hissing cockroaches have a brown color.
  • Characteristics: Both nymphs and adults possess horns and long antennae. The pronotal humps on the thorax of males are larger than those on females’ thoraxes.


Hissing cockroaches are also often called these cockroaches. They are called giant cockroaches by some people. Madagascar hissing cockroaches are capable of hiding in very small spaces, despite their large size.


Natural predators, consume carrion and decay in their natural environment. Hissing cockroaches are omnivores that feed primarily on:

  • Animal carcasses
  • Fallen fruit
  • Rotting plants
  • Small insects


In warm climates, these large pests thrive but become sluggish as temperatures cool. A Madagascar hissing cockroach lives in moist areas such as:

  • Beneath rotten logs
  • Forest floors
  • Tropical areas

Geographical Range

Madagascar is the native home of these roaches. As these pests are not native to the country, they are rarely the cause of cockroach infestations in the house.

Life Cycle

After birth, young Madagascar hissing cockroaches remain in close contact with females for a long time. Nymphs go through six molts in a span of about seven months before reaching adulthood and can live up to five years.

How do Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches look?

You may have seen this pest in a Hollywood film as a stand-in for cockroaches. Typically, they have long, hardened brownish backs and are large (two to three inches). Males do not have wings, but they have one pair of horns.

Signs of Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches

As this species is not native to the United States, homeowners are unlikely to find more than one in their yard or home. Hissing cockroaches are most likely escaped pets that someone kept close by. A Madagascar Hissing cockroach may be nearby if you hear unusual hissing sounds.

Hissing Sound

There are only one known insect species capable of hissing, the Madagascar hissing cockroach. This cockroach creates sound by releasing air from its abdominal spiracles, unlike other insects which rub parts of their bodies together. All hissing cockroaches are capable of producing the disturbance hiss after reaching a certain developmental stage, however, only males ever produce the fighting hiss.

Cockroaches use a unique sound to establish and defend their territories. They are very territorial and they use their horns for fighting. When the females are disturbed, they hiss. It plays an important role in:

  • Colony hierarchy
  • Communication
  • Courtship

Male Madagascar hissing cockroaches hiss to communicate with other cockroaches to:

  • Attract mates
  • Scare off enemies
  • Warn others

More Information

The Madagascar hissing cockroach is among the largest species of cockroaches. The male Madagascar hissing cockroach has larger pronotal humps on its thorax and bushier antennae than the female.

Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches as Pets

Probably none of us have ever considered keeping a cockroach as a pet. Despite this, some people find cockroaches fascinating, and there are cockroach species that tolerate humans petting their brittle exoskeleton. 

Madagascar hissing cockroaches make an excellent starter pet for people who are new to keeping insects. Human fans describe the Madagascar hissing cockroaches as hardy, docile, and easy to handle despite their fearsome name.

Food and Water

Hissing cockroaches should be fed a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, including romaine and other leafy greens (avoid iceberg lettuce) as well as a pellet food that is high in protein, such as dog food. It seems carrots are a favorite, as well as oranges, apples, bananas, tomatoes, celery, squash, peas, and other colorful vegetables.

To prevent food from spoiling, remove uneaten food after a few days. Hissers may not eat decaying or rotten food matter, unlike some other cockroaches. In order to prevent your pets from drowning, provide them with fresh, non-chlorinated water in a shallow dish with climbable rocks.

Common Health Problems

As with most cockroaches, Madagascar hissing cockroaches are hardy. They do not have many health problems. However, one thing to watch out for is dehydration; if your pet cockroach looks shriveled or wrinkled, it probably isn’t getting enough water. If it’s not showing signs of dehydration and it hisses slightly when you first touch it (indicating anxiety), then you’ve got a healthy cockroach.

In order to reach maturity, cockroaches must molt (lose their outer exoskeleton) six times. The day before a molt is when your cockroach is most vulnerable; it may hide and not eat as it prepares for the shed. It stops molting when it is about seven months old, the time at which it has reached adulthood.

How to Get Rid of Hissing Cockroaches

Typical cockroach removal methods should work if you come across Hissing cockroaches in the house. Call an exterminator if you’re not sure what to do, especially if there is more than one. You can follow 7 Best Ways To Kill A Cockroach Without Touching It.

As soon as you realize you have cockroaches in the house, you should act quickly to get them out. The diseases and agitations they bring with them, along with the mess they leave behind, can make cockroaches dangerous. Get rid of them by removing their ideal environment or taking extra measures to kill them. Examples include:

  • Cleaning: Since cockroaches seek out food sources and filth, begin by cleaning the house and removing potential sources of food.
  • Seek out their shelter: Cockroaches like to hide under appliances, in pipes, and in the garbage, so search for them in these places and remove them with a vacuum or the bottom of a shoe.
  • Baits: Use chemical store-bought baits on the ground and in areas where cockroaches have been seen.
  • Traps: Sticky traps, glue board traps, and eco traps can all be used around the home to lure cockroaches and capture them.
  • Pesticides:  Pesticides such as boric acid can be an effective way to kill cockroaches. Make sure you follow instructions and keep pets and children away from this method.
  • You can kill or get rid roaches by using Advion Cockroach Gel Bait.

Frequently Asked Questions

How did I get Madagascar hissing cockroaches?

If you find a Madagascar hissing cockroach in your home, you probably found someone’s missing pet. U.S. classrooms display these insects as display critters, and pet stores sell them for sale. Cockroaches with padded feet can climb anywhere, so they can crawl out of containment that is properly sealed and made impenetrable.

How serious are Madagascar hissing cockroaches?

Humans are not known to be at risk from these insects. Males are especially aggressive, and they are commonly seen fighting with rival males.

How do you stop hissing roaches?

A warm location (72°F to 76°F) should be used for the cage. Generally, higher temperatures (80 F or more) enhance activity and breeding, while lower temperatures (70 F or less) cause the MHC to be sluggish and inactive. Keep these roaches above 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Can hissing cockroaches infest a house?

The cockroaches do not bite, but they are more than likely to infest a home as they establish themselves throughout the state. Hessing cockroaches are the last thing you want in your home or on your property, but they’re not as difficult as you might think. Do you need to know Do Cockroaches bite?  All You Need To Know by clicking on that.

What gets rid of cockroaches permanently?

Here are a few we recommend:
The diatomaceous earth. The natural insecticide diatomaceous earth, or DE, works well.
Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). You probably already have baking soda in your pantry if you’d like to get rid of roaches fast and easily.
Boric Acid.
Borax. …
Citrus. …
Essential Oils.

Latest Updates

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.