In this edition of Pet Pointers, YNN's Lisa Chelenza tells us about the Madagascar hissing cockroach.
These large insects are native to the island of Madagascar, and it is the only place where they can be found naturally. Unlike other cockroaches, they do not have wings. However, they do have hooks on their feet and legs that enable them to climb smooth surfaces.
Madagascar hissing cockroaches also communicate for various reasons, including mating or an alarm, by using the loud hissing sound they are named for.
Diana Sleiertin, an exotic animal rescuer, said, "They exhale air through their little sphericals which are their breathing holes. The hissing cockroach is actually the only cockroach that has at least eight different hisses to communicate with the pack."
Males can be identified by the large horns on top of their heads. If you plan to keep these large insects it is wise to keep males separated. Madagascar hissing cockroaches can make fun, interesting pets because they do not bite, do not smell and are easy to care for.
They grow as much as two inches long and live up to five years. Their diet also makes them easy to care for. They can eat decaying fruit and vegetable matter, and smaller insects.
Although a hissing cockroach may not be for everyone, there is something endearing about these creatures.