HI all, I have just (about 4 weeks ago) got three adult Madagascan hissers (as pets) - a male and two females. They are being kept in a small glass terrarium with a locking mesh top, at between 21 and about 28 Celsius (I think this is about 70-80F?) with the floor of the terrarium being at 28 and the top at 21 (I have a small heat mat under about 2/3 to 3/4 of the base as the temperature in my house is generally no more than 20 Celsius in the winter). They are on a coir substrate (about 1cm thick) which was damp when I initially put it in but which has dried out with the action of the heat mat. I am now misting one corner of the enclosure about once every couple of days to give them a bit more humidity but my house is fairly humid anyway (ambient humidity is around 50-60% and in fact I have to use a dehumidifier to stop it getting damp). They have a toilet roll tube and a piece of cork bark in the enclosure as hiding places and are almost always to be found huddled under the cork!
My question is basically - how much should I be expecting three hissers to eat? I have seen very little eating going on in the first few weeks and am wondering if this is normal. They are being given crushed dried dog biscuits mixed with crushed organic oat biscuits as dry food, plus a range of organic fruit and veg cut up into small pieces which I leave in the cage a couple of days and then remove and change as it starts to go off, and there is always food in there for them. However until the last week or so I could see little or no sign of eating at all - a couple of bite marks on the fruit and veg maybe every few days and I think a little of the dog food/oat biscuit mix was being eaten although it's hard to tell.
Interestingly in the past couple of days I have started to see them eat more - a small slice of carrot and a 0.5 cm square piece of apple have disappeared from the fruit dish in the past day or so and I have also caught two out of the three of them nibbling on the cork bark. Has anyone else seen hissers eat cork bark before? And more importantly is it safe for them? I did put the bark in the microwave for a couple of minutes (until it started popping and smoking!!) and also poured boiling water over it as recommended by the guy I bought it from (at the AES insect show) before I put it in with them but I am concerned that there might be things on or in it that could be toxic or bad for them.
And could the stress of being moved from their original colony to the AES show (a large UK insect trade and entomological fair where they were basically on display in a very small tub under artificial light all day) to my home and a completely different environment have caused them to stop eating for a while? If so and they start eating better now will this have caused them any lasting harm? Or is it simply normal that three hissers just don't eat much?
Sorry for so many questions but I am a total newbie to keeping roaches (and insects / invertebrates in general) so it would be good if some of the more experienced roach keepers could let me know if what I am seeing is normal or whether I need to change something about the way I am keeping them!