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BrinAlex

G. Portentosa might be dying? (details + pics)

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Hello all,

I work in a children's museum and we have a colony of G. Portentosa. We've been taking care of hissers for about 2 years now and about 6 months ago I became the official bug handler. We originally had four females to begin (Big Mama, Greta, Elvira, and Stump) and those four are doing great! Recently (about 2 months ago now) we adopted a scoopful of roaches from a larger museum in our area and so far they have been thriving in their new environment...

 

However, yesterday I found a friend who had white legs, like they had molted recently but everything else was dark, normal coloring. Today I came in and found the same one on his back, slightly curled and twitching a lot. [https://photos.app.goo.gl/0kO22jHhz6A8WxBm2] About an hour later, I found another friend with the same symptoms (minus the white legs). [https://drive.google.com/file/d/1pR500_CTMdwTbWX9QCrLuRmIb9LSWwZuGA/view?usp=sharing]

 

I feed them a mixture of dry cat/rat food and washed vegetables every other day or so. Lately they have been going NUTS when I put a slice of apple in there, it's consumed within a couple of hours! We've been using a mixture of coco fibre and cypress mulch for substrate. They have a heat rock and an overhead heating lamp when needed, which is often (its cold here). 

 

I really love these bugs, so any info or help on the matter is super appreciated!

Thanks,

Brin

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Care sounds good in my opinion, heat rocks are known to malfunction and can have hot spots, it could be possible for a roach to cook it self and slowly die. They are shunned in the Reptile hobby

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I agree with @Redmont, care sounds great except for the heat rock bit, I'd never recommend using those for any type of animal. Just the heat lamp should be fine, or maybe you could get a heat mat/cable to put under half the tank, if it gets really cold in there. 

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Hi, thank you both for such quick responses! I'll take the heat rock out of the tank today, so here's hoping that will help. 

I did separate the two inflicted roaches yesterday into a separate enclosure and this morning they appear to be STILL ALIVE, curled up, and still twitching. Even if I flip them over, they get themselves on their backs again.

 

UPDATE: I just pulled another roach from the tank with the same curled up position and twitchy legs. He seems a bit better than the other two, when I flip this one over he can walk a bit...but it looks nothing like the regular 'roach walk' that I've seen. It's almost like they don't have control of where it's going. That's three now, and none of them have appeared to actually DIE yet.

The fact that they are still twitching (for the two its been 24 hours now) and haven't died seems a little weird to me, and that they are on their backs. We've had some roach deaths before but they've never curled up or been belly-up.

UPDATE #2: Pulled the heat rock out of our tank, while I was doing that I noticed that several of the roaches had white legs... Which is what  prompted me to start wondering about that first guy. Like I said in my first post, we haven't had a large colony like this for long, so I'm not sure if it's normal for some of them to have white legs? Seemed a bit strange to me. 

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White legs is not normal in my experiences. You'll usually only find the white when a roach has freshly molted or has molted and then been injured and is still healing, while the rest of the body has returned to normal coloration. I think if it's just the legs and undersides that are white, the heat rock was probably cooking them. Hopefully things clear up without the heat rock in the tank. 

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If the afflicted roaches are still alive, you may want to go ahead and kill them, otherwise they'll just starve to death. The freezer will work, or, if you aren't squeamish, a brick. Assuming the heat rock was the issue, the ones on their backs aren't going to recover, and I assume they're in distress. 

Hissing roaches do need warmth, but a heat lamp is usually more than enough in a closed enclosure. If not, you can get heat pads meant for reptile enclosures. You stick the pad on the side of the enclosure, and it gives a warm spot, plus raising the temp a few degrees. I have one for my domino roaches. 

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Any news on these? I'm having a very, very similar case with mine.

I had an old female pass away after about 3 weeks of the slow turned over, curled legs behavior--also with white on the legs. She dropped her egg case about 5 days before she died. We tried adding a wet sponge and fruit, which she spent lots of time on, but it didn't get too much better. We added a young male two weeks ago to the terrarium, thinking she was simply just old, but now he's showing the same symptoms.
 

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10/22/17 UPDATE: 

1. I took the heat rock out last week as advised and for a couple of days we appeared to have no new "deaths." Thursday morning however I removed 3 roaches from the tank, and another 2 on Friday morning. Even when flipped back onto their bellies the don't appear to have much control of their legs and they just stumble around until they flip over again. 

2. This morning (Sunday) I noticed a couple more with white legs, at least 5. I pulled them and have set up a "quarantine" tank. So far these guys are only exhibiting the white legs, but I'll be checking in on them in the morning. 

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Hrmmm, what is the humidity in your enclosure? I wonder if it might be a fungal thing entering into their feet?

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