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BlattaAnglicana

Babies!!!

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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! :D 

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.....

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Yay, congrats on getting what sounds like a good sized, healthy litter of nymphs! :D Hope they do well for you!

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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!

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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 :o

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!

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And more! :D 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 :o

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 :o

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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?

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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.

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Hi,

I just wanted to say that I really admire the way you really care about your roaches.  You think about their quality of life and seem to take such good care of them.  I hope things with your females get better, maybe it's a germ or something brought from the first colongy? 

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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!

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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.

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