Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

The Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

The Madagascar Hissing Cockroach is also known as the hissing cockroach or hissers. They are found on the African Island, Madagascar. It is one of the most unique and fascinating cockroach species because of its distinguishing traits.



Madagascar hissing cockroaches are giant cockroaches and they are much longer in size and can grow up to 7.5cm in length. They have an oval-shaped body and bear shiny-brown color. They are wingless and possess one pair of antenna. Male hissing cockroaches are larger in size as compared to female hissers; they have thick antennas and possess horns.


Madagascar hissing cockroaches get their name because of the unique hissing sound they produce. They produce a very loud hissing sound that is used for several different purposes.

There are three types of hisses:

  1. Disturbance hiss
  2. Female attracting hiss
  3. Aggressive, fighting hiss

They use their hiss for communication for warning, for courtship and in determining the colony’s hierarchy. Only male hissers use the female-attracting hiss and the aggressive hiss.

Madagascar hissing cockroaches are quite aggressive in nature and male hissing roaches use their horns to fight with their rivals. If some other roach member intrudes on their colony or antlered mammals challenge them, then they collide with them and fight out with their horns. It’s used for determining the roach colony’s hierarchy, as the winning roaches hiss more than the losers and thus establish their dominance.

The disturbance hiss is produced to threaten and warn away predators like birds, arachnids, and tenrecs.

Madagascar hissing cockroaches are excellent climbers and have sticky feet which bear pads and hooks; these help them in climbing on smooth surfaces like glass.


Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

These hissing roaches only exist on the island of Madagascar in Africa. They don’t have any specific nesting habit and make the forest floor their home. They use logs, leaf litter and decaying organic matter to hide themselves in. Madagascar hissing roaches prefer to live in drier conditions where they can easily access food.

They are known to exist in the specific forest area and do not inhabit houses but because of their astonishing characteristics people often keep them as exotic pets in their homes and build specific resting places for them.

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach Diet:

Madagascar hissing cockroaches are omnivorous in nature, which means it can feed upon both animal and plant matter. Their preferable diet is vegetables, fruits, and leaves. In captivity, they can be given cat or dog food along with vegetables and fruits.


Hissing cockroaches use the hiss for mating purpose too. Male hisser produces the sound to attract a mate; they produce long-ranging loud hiss to attract female roach, whereas they produce short-ranged hiss for the courtship purpose.

With help of their antennas, male hissers detect the female’s odor which is produced for mating. After successful mating, female hissing roach produces as many as 60 eggs which remain in a cocoon-like case; female carry this cocoon inside her body for 60 days and then the young roaches or nymph roaches hatch out.

It takes almost 7 months and six molting sessions for a nymph to become an adult roach.

Facts About Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches

  • Madagascar hissing cockroach has amazing eating speed and in a single day, it can eat a whole large carrot.
  • The hiss sound these roaches produced is due to the air they exhale through their breathing holes.
  • Madagascar hissing cockroach is the only insect on earth which has the ability to hiss.
  • Female hissing cockroach breeds for just one time in its life and carries its babies for sixty days.
  • People keep Madagascar hissing cockroaches as pets.
  • They are nocturnal insects and thrive in warmer conditions.
  • Average lifespan of these hissers is 2 years, whereas if kept in favorable conditions in captivity, they can live up to 5 years.
  • Male hissing cockroaches aren’t social and they only come close to other members for mating. Whereas females and young ones live together in a colony.

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