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About BlattaAnglicana

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  1. Sadly my second female with the prolapse died today I had hoped isolating her and keeping her clean might help her pull through, but although she was alive last night and this morning, I noticed she was regurgitating what she was eating and drinking and I kind of knew that was a bad sign, and she was dead when I checked on her this evening. At least, I suppose, like the other one, she wasn't in distress for very long. I think she did also give birth to a few nymphs though I don't think as many as the other two females - I only saw one or two really small ones crawling around amongst the bigger ones. At least the better news is that all the nymphs so far from the other females seem to be doing well, and the remaining four adults at least seem healthy (although I am not sure whether the other female with the prolapse that healed may now not be able to give birth again). I think most of the babies have moulted to second instar and in my far from scientific observation I am sure they are growing faster and doing better as a group than the first few who all died. Whether that's because they are part of a larger group or whether the other two females were simply healthier than the other two that died and therefore had healthier babies, I don't know. Let's hope at least some of them make it to adulthood and keep my colony going anyway.
  2. Thank you Crazy Bug Lady, yes I do care about them, these are pets not feeders and as I have only started off with a small number of adults (initially a male and two females, one of whom died after a prolapse giving birth, followed by three more females, one of whom is the latest one to suffer a prolapse) they are individuals to me, and it is sad for me to see them with health problems. Now I have a lot more babies from the other two females I won't be able to see every one as an individual, but I still care that they are properly housed, healthy and thriving, so that's why it concerns me that I must be doing something wrong to get all these birth issues. People have said my setup sounds OK but with two out of five females suffering a bad prolapse (one died and the latest one probably won't live long, or I may end up feeling it's kinder to euthanise her than allow her to live with a compromised ability to feed) and a third suffering a small prolapse which seems to have fully healed functionally (i.e. she can feed and eat without problems) but now she seems to abort every ootheca she makes, I really can't believe it is coincidence. There must be something I'm doing wrong but I really can't see what it is - I have followed all advice I have got and still I am getting this problem I hadn't thought about a germ or infection that might be causing the prolapses - I have not heard of roaches suffering this sort of disease but perhaps someone might know of something that could cause it? The other thing I may do soon (which I will have to do as all the babies get bigger anyway) is move them into a bigger enclosure which may help any issues with mould or germs in the substrate. Thank you again for your concern - they may "only" be roaches and not say a cat or a dog, but I do care about them!
  3. Unfortunately after two uneventful births I have had another female prolapse again after only giving birth to a few nymphs This one is unfortunately more like the first one in that although the prolapse is smaller, it looks ruptured, i.e. not the smooth bulge like the one that recovered had but more like broken skin and sort of fatty lumps (sorry for the gross description!) which looks pretty bad to me. Although she is so far still alive and drinking I'm afraid I don't have a lot of hope for her I don't know whether it would be kinder to euthanise her now than let her drag on like this as I am sure her gut is damaged and even if she can eat as well as drink, I'm not sure if she will be able to absorb or pass through the food properly. I thought with the last two successful births that whatever I had been doing wrong I had somehow fixed but it seems there must still be something wrong with my setup, as this was one of the new females from the second colony. Not a good day today Edited to add - I have now decided to isolate her in a small container with some food, water, heat and a paper roll for shelter. I also carefully cleaned all the gunked on bits of substrate off the prolapsed part with a small artists' paint brush, which I hope was soft enough not to do any further damage, and the new container has no substrate so at least it won't get dirty and hopefully is less likely to become infected. I guess I will just have to wait to see if she survives but I am hoping that this will give her the best chance of pulling through, if the prolapse hasn't caused too much permanent damage.
  4. Well so far they are doing well - I am sure there are even a couple of second instars already (I have definitely found one shed skin and at least two of them look much bigger and a slightly darker colour than the newborns) so let's hope I am more successful with these than the last ones. One thing I have been doing differently that they seem to like is misting the tops of their cork bark hides lightly once or twice a day - they scurry out of the way and the adults hiss a lot when I spray it but within a few seconds afterwards both the little ones and the adults come out and drink the droplets, whereas when I was misting the walls on the opposite side of their enclosure they never came out to drink it, and in fact I never saw them drink at all. I am wondering now whether the mistake I made with the original set of nymphs was assuming they would find and drink out of a bowl in one area of the enclosure - they always had a water dish with soaked cotton wool in it available but I never saw any of them drink from it, so perhaps they were dehydrated and that's why the nymphs became weak and died off? So it seems they like to drink when the water is sprayed near them but don't seem actually to go out looking for water. Has anyone else seen this behaviour or know if it is normal/expected?
  5. And more! A second female gave birth overnight so now I have loads of little babies - I'm going to need to move them to a bigger enclosure at this rate In both cases the females were the new ones from the different colony and they have given birth without a hitch, so maybe the prolapse issue could have been something to do with genetics or environment in the first colony. I guess I'll never know for sure but at least they are breeding now. Edited to add - I just lifted up a couple of pieces of cork bark to see if I could see the babies and there are LOADS of little ones under there! This latest female must have given birth to at least 15 or 20 babies at a guess
  6. Well I tried to count the babies this morning but they were so thoroughly ensconced in the little crevices in the cork bark that I am none the wiser on how many there actually are I know there are at least seven from my count the other night but there could yet be more hiding in the bark as there are a lot of newborn nymph-sized hidey holes in it and I saw little antennae waving in several of them, but one or two of the nymphs were running in and out of the holes which made it difficult to know if it was the same ones or different ones I was seeing each time. I think I will have to wait until they start moulting and getting too big for the crevices before I get a real idea of how many there are!
  7. Thanks Hisserdude, I certainly hope they do too - it's been a bit of a rollercoaster first few months as a roach keeper, with a lot of disappointments, so it would be good to see the colony growing nicely now!
  8. At last, some good news to report - one of my female hissers gave birth overnight and there are lots of new nymphs in the enclosure! I don't know how many there are overall as yet - I have counted seven so far, mostly hiding in the crevices of the cork bark, but I have not yet lifted up the cork bark completely as I don't want to disturb them too much during their first few hours, so there could be loads more underneath. I have seen all the four females and at least three of them look perfectly OK (i.e. no sign of prolapse) although one has remained with her tail under the cork bark so far and I haven't got a good look at her, so I can't say 100% if she is fine, but as she is hiding and not showing the distressed behaviour like my first female that died did, I am at least hopeful that if she is the one that gave birth, she has not suffered any major issues. I actually spotted the nymphs a while ago as I had woken up half way through the night and (as I usually do when that happens!) I went to have a quick look at them before I went back to sleep - they were wandering around and eating the remainder of the mother's "roach milk" at the time but they had already started to darken up, so I am guessing they must have been born at least half an hour to an hour earlier. Hopefully over the next couple of days I'll have a chance to count them properly and see how many I actually have! Let's hope I will have better luck with keeping this batch alive and healthy than I did with the first one.....
  9. Sweet little things
  10. Sorry to hijack TheSwarmThing's thread, but thanks dcfarms for answering the question as to whether a half broken off ootheca will incubate, as this has just happened to one of my females and I wasn't sure whether she would be OK or not. Sounds like she should be OK which is good news! The only difference with mine is that the ootheca was a bit misshapen but I think this is because the female it has happened to had a small prolapse during her first birth which seemed to be fully recovered, but I am thinking perhaps she can't now produce a "perfect" ootheca. It seems that they are a bit "rough" (i.e. not a smooth line of eggs in pairs like the photo above but a bit "bumpy") and although she can push them part way out to "air" she can't then retract the part she has pushed out. The first time this happened (it has happened twice) she aborted the ootheca completely but this time the part she couldn't retract broke off and the rest stayed inside her, so I am now hopeful she will be OK and it will go to term.
  11. Yeah initially I thought it would survive too as it was quite active initially, despite somehow damaging its antennae, but over the last couple of weeks it just seemed to slow down and stop eating. I am sure its damaged antennae wouldn't have helped it finding food if I'd just left it alone, but I had been hand feeding it and leaving food very close to it so even if its sense of smell was very compromised I thought it couldn't fail to find something edible nearby. Unfortunately though towards the end it didn't seem to want to eat anything at all - I tried banana (including really pulpy soft banana), pear, apple, softened carrot, mushed haricot beans, moistened cat food and moistened oats and whilst it took a few bites of most things initially, by the last couple of days it wouldn't eat anything even if I put the food directly under its mouth. I haven't seen the female properly since I removed the dried up part of the ootheca but she is alert and seems to be showing normal behaviour (i.e. hiding and moving further under the cork bark when I open the cage or shine a white light on them rather than sitting out in the open). I'm trying not to disturb them too much at the moment in case stress has been causing the die offs and abortions but I'll check properly on them over the weekend to make sure she looks OK (i.e. no sign of ill health or anything like an infection or the rest of the ootheca getting stuck if she's been trying to push it out). I found one post in the archive where the OP says that their female had a similar thing (half aborted ootheca where the part outside eventually dried up and fell off) and someone there replied to say that she might take the remaining eggs to term, but there was no follow up post from either person so I don't know whether their female eventually gave birth successfully or not. So who knows maybe she will still give birth yet if she can keep the remaining eggs inside her to full term! Have to admit I'm more expecting to find she expels the rest of it eventually though. As you say, just got to keep my fingers crossed the new females give birth to healthy litters with no complication!
  12. Thanks Taffer, I am pretty sure they didn't die of bad moults as I didn't see them trying to shed their skins or any sign of deformity immediately after the moult. All three of them had at least one good moult and the biggest one that is still alive has had three so far, so I don't think it's bad moults causing them to die. Also there's no mould on the substrate as, apart from the one corner which I have been keeping wetter only for a couple of weeks, the rest of the substrate is basically dry. I keep the humidity up by misting the sides of the enclosure and (at the moment) that one wet corner which is the opposite side to the food so it's less likely to mould. I also remove fresh food before or at the very latest as soon as there's any sign of mould or fungus growth. TBH I really don't know what I could be doing wrong, I've changed what I can at the suggestion of people way more knowledgeable about hissers and roaches than me, and they have said that what I'm doing now is fine, so I guess it must just be that I've got weak individuals or possibly older ones than I'd thought. I was prepared for some nymphs to die off (especially if I'd had big litters from my females) but when they have only given birth to a very small number it's sad to lose them Just hoping the new females (from a different colony) are made of stronger stuff and do eventually give birth to lots more nymphs. Funnily enough I have thought of getting an IR CCTV system and recording what they actually do overnight - I'm sure they are much more active in the early hours (when I'm asleep!) than they are even in the dark evenings, as the one or two times I've woken up in the small hours and gone to have a look at them more of them have been out and active than earlier on! I also tend to find the food bowls (actually milk bottle tops and jam jar lids!) and leaves on the substrate have been moved around in the mornings whilst I've been asleep so I bet they are scuttling around all night knocking the scenery about when I'm not looking!
  13. Hi Taffer, thanks for your concern but unfortunately there's not a lot of good news to report I'm afraid Of the four nymphs that were born to the female that died I only have one left, two died in the past couple of weeks and one very early on. One of the recent deaths is a bit inexplicable as well as the nymph looked very healthy until literally the day before, although the other one that died was weak to start with and got injured (antennae clipped) and was really obviously weakening before it died, so I knew it wouldn't last long. The other female did give birth to one live nymph that died a few days later and unfortunately she too suffered a small prolapse, and although she seemed to make a full recovery unlike the other one, she has since twice aborted an ootheca so I think sadly the prolapse caused her some long term damage which has left her unable to breed. On the plus side the final nymph is now at fourth instar (I think - I know it has moulted at least three times) and seems so far to be growing well, and I also bought three more females a month and a half ago, although there's no sign yet of them giving birth. Several people have suggested I feed them more protein which I have been doing, and I have slightly increased the humidity (one corner of the cage now has wet substrate and the humidity is around 70%-80% rather than 60%-70%, but they all avoid the wet corner completely (which they didn't before) so I'm not sure whether it's helping or not! Anyway I am still hopeful I will be able to have a self-sustaining colony eventually! And if not I guess at least they have given me a lot of pleasure as pets, they are fascinating little creatures to watch interacting with each other, especially the male patrolling his "territory" and trying to woo the females even though they are all gravid and always ignore his hisses and antennae strokes! I use a red lamp to watch them at night when they are more active, which I think they can see a bit but not as much as a white light which makes them scuttle away as fast as, well, roaches!
  14. Just to add, I spotted her this evening trying to "scrape" the part-aborted ootheca off by rubbing her butt on the cork bark. She almost managed it but in the end I intervened and gently helped to pull off the dried up part of the ootheca. I've left the aborted eggs in the enclosure as I know they sometimes eat them for the protein. However it's clear there is still some of it still inside her as it was only sticking out about 3/4 inch and I'm sure a full ootheca is longer than that. Does anyone know if this will be OK for her? i.e. will it cause her any issues, health wise? I've not seen her trying to push anything out since then but does anyone know if the remaining eggs might still go to term or will she just abort the rest of the ootheca at some point?
  15. Unfortunately more bad news to report - the small nymph that was very weak died today, although I think it was inevitable as it had become slower and more reluctant to eat and was moving more and more slowly over the past few days, even though I was hand feeding it, so at least I was prepared for it, although it's still sad to lose another one from such a small litter; and I have had another ootheca abortion However I'm sure it's the same female that aborted before AND the same one who had the prolapse, so I am now thinking that the prolapse probably has caused her to be incapable of making and holding a healthy ootheca to term. It seems that the second ootheca was also misshapen like the previous one, and what I think may be happening is that she was trying to turn it (as I understand it the females "air" and "turn" the ootheca about half way through gestation) but because it is mis-shapen and perhaps because her internal musculature has been damaged by the prolapse, she can't retract it, so she then has to abort it At the moment the ootheca is still half way out of her (and has been since at least 6am this morning, UK time, i.e. 13 hours, so I am assuming it won't get retracted after that sort of time) but I am hoping that she will abort it fully within the next day or so like last time and otherwise be unharmed. It's a bit sad as I had hoped she might make a full recovery and eventually have a full litter, but I am guessing she is now incapable of doing so and this will happen every time she becomes gravid. I guess as long as she aborts the ooth each time she will still live a normal life span though? On the plus side the remaining one nymph from the litter of four from my female that died has already moulted again (last moult was Christmas day so it's only just over two weeks!) and I think is now a fourth instar, so it seems to be growing up very quickly! I am now just hoping that one of my three new females finally gives birth without any issue some time soon - I've had them for about 7 weeks so I am assuming they will do!