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alikat

my harlequin roach is falling apart

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I acquired a harlequin roach last summer after it crawled out of a supposedly fumigated crate from India that had been shipped to my workplace. I didn't know much about them, except that roaches are supposed to be tough as nails, and most info I could find was about how to exterminate them. I set up a habitat that is heavy on cute for me to look at and no doubt light on what the cockroach actually needs. The harlequin seemed healthy and happy enough until the last few months. In that time, he's lost the last third of both antennaes and both of his front legs. From what I'm reading on the forums here I'm guessing it's been too dry in the habitat. I've really enjoyed having this cockroach as a pet and I hate to see it struggling to get around. What can I do to try and stop it from losing any more body parts? Or is this a normal thing that's happening? I have no idea how old it is, but it's molted once since last summer and clearly looks like the pictures I've seen of adult harlequins. If anyone can give me some advice I would be very grateful...

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I've never kept harlequins, but I have read they need lots of heat and humidity, so I would start with providing that. Could you perchance post a picture of the roach? Not a lot of stuff gets here from overseas, so there's a possibility that it's something we've never seen in the hobby before.

Good luck with your roach, and I hope it does well, despite the setbacks.

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Fresh fruits and a light, daily misting of water from a spray bottle will help with humidity.

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I've never kept harlequins, but I have read they need lots of heat and humidity, so I would start with providing that. Could you perchance post a picture of the roach? Not a lot of stuff gets here from overseas, so there's a possibility that it's something we've never seen in the hobby before.

Good luck with your roach, and I hope it does well, despite the setbacks.

I did try to get a picture of him on here, but my files all seem to be too big. I'll make another attempt at it. The harlequin certainly had an amazing journey to Canada, particularly if the Indian supplier did fumigate that crate and he survived that too. We had found other insects/small reptiles in with our valve castings before but they were all thoroughly dead.

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I don't know if this will work or not, but I'm going to try to post a link to a picture of Kerpal the harlequin roach. This is from last summer, right after he molted and then ate most of his shed self. The ultimate recycling... lol

http://i1245.photobucket.com/albums/gg589/alikatgrant/1497cb26.jpg

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I don't know if this will work or not, but I'm going to try to post a link to a picture of Kerpal the harlequin roach. This is from last summer, right after he molted and then ate most of his shed self. The ultimate recycling... lol

http://i1245.photobucket.com/albums/gg589/alikatgrant/1497cb26.jpg

Roach looks fine in the photo but what is all that stuff around him?

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Roach looks fine in the photo but what is all that stuff around him?

He was healthy in this picture, but he looks a lot more beat up now, unfortunately. Like I said, I didn't know much about roaches, so he ended up with a habitat that looks a lot like the one my betta splendens lives in, only without all the water. Includes glass beads, coloured glass pebbles, some pretty stones from the beach of the North Saskatchewan river, a water dish and a food dish made of bottle caps partially sunk into the the beads. A decorative shark fish bowl ornament as a cave to hide in. He loved that until he lost his front legs. He used to cling to the roof of the shark's mouth with just his antennae sticking out. Has no interest in climbing any more. :(

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Glass marbles and rocks so don't make a very good substrate. You need either dirt or something similar. You could just get some dirt from outside (make sure there haven;t been any pesticides used on it) and freeze or cook it to kill the micro-fauna and some bacteria. Or, you could use some fertilizer-free potting soil. Or, most people on here use coco fiber, purchased at a pet store. You jut need something that'll retain moisture for the roach, and rocks just don't do that. Also, the roach seems kinda old, he might just be nearing the end of his rope.

Anyway, good luck.

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I was going to say there might be chemicals on the fish decor safe for fish, but toxic to insects.

I agree substrate change is a must to something natural.

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Glass marbles and rocks so don't make a very good substrate. You need either dirt or something similar. You could just get some dirt from outside (make sure there haven;t been any pesticides used on it) and freeze or cook it to kill the micro-fauna and some bacteria. Or, you could use some fertilizer-free potting soil. Or, most people on here use coco fiber, purchased at a pet store. You jut need something that'll retain moisture for the roach, and rocks just don't do that. Also, the roach seems kinda old, he might just be nearing the end of his rope.

Anyway, good luck.

I do have some potting soil leftover somewhere, but I might have mixed it with compost. I think I'll check with the pet store for coco fiber. I have been misting his area and I see him moving around a bit more. He's still very determined to groom himself and works his way into awkward positions to get at his back legs. This has resulted in loss of balance and faceplants; he's missing most of his left maxilla now.(Am I using the right the word? Not his actual mouth but the parts he feels around and holds his food with.)Is there any way to tell how old a cockroach is accurately once they've reached full growth? He definitely didn't grow much or at all after molting last August.

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I do have some potting soil leftover somewhere, but I might have mixed it with compost. I think I'll check with the pet store for coco fiber. I have been misting his area and I see him moving around a bit more. He's still very determined to groom himself and works his way into awkward positions to get at his back legs. This has resulted in loss of balance and faceplants; he's missing most of his left maxilla now.(Am I using the right the word? Not his actual mouth but the parts he feels around and holds his food with.)Is there any way to tell how old a cockroach is accurately once they've reached full growth? He definitely didn't grow much or at all after molting last August.

I am not sure about how long that particular species lives as an adult, but it sounds like it has been adult since last August . For the species that I keep, that would be nice and old.

The mouthparts described sound like they are palps, there are maxillary and labial palps. The maxillary palps are the ones on top and the labial ones are the bottoms.

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Sounds like he's just old. In my colony, adult males usually outlive females at a little over 3 months. I'd say his biological clock is just to run out; but for a roach of that species to live that long is quite an accomplishment and a sign of doing something right.

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Sounds like he's just old. In my colony, adult males usually outlive females at a little over 3 months. I'd say his biological clock is just to run out; but for a roach of that species to live that long is quite an accomplishment and a sign of doing something right.

Well, I feel better that I haven't done anything stupid enough to kill him, but sad if he is getting old. Not likely to find another harlequin roach around here. :(

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Have you looked at any other species of roach?

There are many beautiful species in culture.

You may be able to order some, or even collect from the wild, depending on your location.

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Have you looked at any other species of roach?

There are many beautiful species in culture.

You may be able to order some, or even collect from the wild, depending on your location.

There certainly are a lot of different species of cockroaches and a lot them are pretty. There isn't much chance of me finding any in the wild where I live, since I'm fairly far north in Canada. I'm sure there are places in warmer cities like Toronto or Vancouver that have infestations of pest species, but Edmonton is supposed to be free of them. I am interested in continuing to have them, but I might not be able to do it in the near future. I'll soon be moving to a small bachelor suite, and the building supervisor will probably freak out if she discovers I have even a single cockroach in my possession. I'm amazed at the pure horror and disgust directed at Kerpal whenever people see him. I don't get it, because he's barely more than an inch long not counting antennae, his colouring is lovely and he's confined to a habitat that he can't get out of. There's no way he's going to multiply and take over the world all by himself but everyone seems convinced that's exactly what's going to happen. So I can just imagine the reaction half a hundred big hissing cockroaches would get! :blink:

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I know how you feel. Many people don't like my roaches.

Telling people that you keep a roach, or roaches as pets can tell you who your REAL friends are. Lol!

I live in S. Florida and most of the roaches I would like to get are against the law, but it is for good reason. We have plenty of invasive species of animals here already.

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Being in Canada I don't think you can even get exotics legally. :( I know they have extremely strict import restrictions on a lot of insects, including roaches, millipedes, and stick insects. On another forum I belong to we have a lot of Canadian members who were interested in getting hissers after I shared photos and stories of mine, but best we can tell they are all illegal there.

It really is amazing that he survived the journey and you were there to take him in! I'm so sorry he's getting towards the end, but it sounds like he lived a very long happy life. :)

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I know how you feel. Many people don't like my roaches.

Telling people that you keep a roach, or roaches as pets can tell you who your REAL friends are. Lol!

I live in S. Florida and most of the roaches I would like to get are against the law, but it is for good reason. We have plenty of invasive species of animals here already.

I'm pretty sure some of the most invasive creatures in Florida (from November to March anyway)are Canadians trying to avoid the worst of the cold and snow! I used to catch a show called 'Python Hunters' once in a while and it gave me an idea of how much trouble imported species are causing the native wildlife in Florida. Roaches are definitely useful for weeding the real friends out from the not so good ones.

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I know how you feel. Many people don't like my roaches.

Telling people that you keep a roach, or roaches as pets can tell you who your REAL friends are. Lol!

I live in S. Florida and most of the roaches I would like to get are against the law, but it is for good reason. We have plenty of invasive species of animals here already.

I'm pretty sure some of the most invasive creatures in Florida (from November to March anyway)are Canadians trying to avoid the worst of the cold and snow! I used to catch a show called 'Python Hunters' once in a while and it gave me an idea of how much trouble imported species are causing the native wildlife in Florida. Roaches are definitely useful for weeding the real friends out from the not so good ones.

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Being in Canada I don't think you can even get exotics legally. :( I know they have extremely strict import restrictions on a lot of insects, including roaches, millipedes, and stick insects. On another forum I belong to we have a lot of Canadian members who were interested in getting hissers after I shared photos and stories of mine, but best we can tell they are all illegal there.

It really is amazing that he survived the journey and you were there to take him in! I'm so sorry he's getting towards the end, but it sounds like he lived a very long happy life. :)

You're probably right about me not being able to get anything shipped here. The local museum does have a nice colony of hissing cockroaches but I doubt they would share some with a private individual. :( I guess if I need a roach fix when Kerpal passes away I'll be in the Insect Room watching the hissers and trying to ignore the nearby display cases crawling with spiders.

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You're probably right about me not being able to get anything shipped here. The local museum does have a nice colony of hissing cockroaches but I doubt they would share some with a private individual. sad.gif I guess if I need a roach fix when Kerpal passes away I'll be in the Insect Room watching the hissers and trying to ignore the nearby display cases crawling with spiders.

Just saw Kerpal's picture and he WAS really pretty. Again I'm really sorry. Don't really know anything about import laws. However, if you do manage to get some more roaches, maybe you could hide them from your building manager. For example, I have a colony of German roaches and I keep the tank hidden in an old chest. If you don't have a chest, maybe a closet? On another note, I'm not afraid of roaches crawling on me. I lived with German for 11 years and had them crawl on me many times. All they'd do is tickle. Sounds like you are afraid of spiders as well. So am I, they freak me out something fierce!

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You're probably right about me not being able to get anything shipped here. The local museum does have a nice colony of hissing cockroaches but I doubt they would share some with a private individual. sad.gif I guess if I need a roach fix when Kerpal passes away I'll be in the Insect Room watching the hissers and trying to ignore the nearby display cases crawling with spiders.

Oh, I forgot to mention. You're the first person on the forum to respond to one of my birthday messages!

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