If you think lizards and snakes are too cuddly, you might love the Madagascar hissing cockroach, possibly the weirdest pet I’ve ever heard of.
Features of the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach
Native to the island of Madagascar, the hissing cockroach lives in rotting logs and is one of the largest species of roaches in the world, growing from 2 up to 4 inches long. They can’t fly, but they love to be handled.
In case you were wondering how this wingless cockroach got its name, it’s because the hissing is real: The insects force gas through their breathing pores to create a hissing or growling sound.
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Although they usually do this when they’re irritated, hissing cockroaches aren’t aggressive and won’t bite you. In fact, because they are so gentle, they make great classroom pets.
Listen to the hiss of the Madagascar hissing cockroach in this video (you may want to turn down the volume — this one’s a little loud):
Caring for Your Cockroach
Your pet cockroach needs a small living space, preferably a fish tank topped with a screen. They like to climb and will escape pens that aren’t secure.
Cockroach experts recommend coating the top few inches of their enclosure with Vaseline, which will prevent them from climbing to the top. Make sure to give them a nice hiding place. Add small, vertical tree branches so they can climb around.
Feeding Your Roaches
As you might expect, Madagascar hissing cockroaches can eat anything, but unless you are into maximum gross-out, you may want to skip the meat. Instead, opt for vegetables or special food formulated for Madagascar hissing cockroaches. Yup, it exists.
I know people love strange pets, especially folks who can’t have cats or dogs in their apartments, but c’mon! A cockroach?
I like to cuddle with my pets, and I just can’t imagine cuddling with cockroaches, let alone touching them. But that’s just me.