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Hi everyone!

I got my first roaches last weekend. It was supposed to be just some Dubia so I could start a small colony to have on hand for my Emperor Scorpions, but my pet shop lady had also gotten a pair of hissers and it was love at first sight. :) I could tell that she had wanted to keep them for herself as it was the first time she had gotten them in, but I think she gave in and sold them since it was us. (My hubby and I are crazy pet people, and in the last few months I've been turning into an invert person.) I've been wanting hissers since I saw them as a child at a summer library program, so I'm just thrilled they're now a part of the family! I have a very tiny invert room that is heated to 80-85 degrees (gradient in the room) so the roaches are in there with the Emps, and also my hermit crab molting isolation tanks.

So I have a male and female adult dubia and about 18 nymphs in a 25G storage bin. Very basic - just some branches and some peat moss for substrate. It's only the two scorpions for now that need the food, so I just want to have a tiny colony to supplement their crickets and so maybe I can trade some in here and there for store credit.

The male and female hissers have their own 20G long and I'm looking forward to babies. :) They are being kept as pets, and I think they're just hysterical. The male talks to himself as he's moving around and bumping into things. Such a character!

This is their home:


Here is the male:




And the female (she's shyer and I haven't touched her since the first night):




I do have a few questions!

1. I was told that the hissers are most likely a G. oblongata and G. portentosa hybrid. Do you think this may be the case? If so, then any excess young will be used or sold as feeders as I don't want to muddle the gene lines.

2. What's the ideal humidity for the dubia and for the hissers? I have the dubia at around 60%RH, and the hissers at 80%RH. I'm finding a lot of conflicting info out there and I wondered if there is an accepted "good" range for them.

3. Sounds silly, but can the male hisser hurt me? He's gotten very frisky since we got him home, and he now kicks the heck out of me when I try to pick him up. It was enough to be uncomfortable so I stopped, but is it possible for him to break skin? If the kicking is the worst he can do then I won't worry about it, but I draw the line if he could draw blood.

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Hello and congrats on the new cockroaches :D

They look more like Aeluropoda insignis to me rather than the common hisser (Gromphadorhina portentosa), but I wouldn't be surprised if they were hybrids. Humidity can be anything that isn't soaking or bone dry. About the male hurting you; probably not. He can kick, but that's about it. Just respect what he's comfortable with and he'll do the same ;)

Good luck with those guys

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Welcome. :)

Those roaches look spoiled rotten already. :lol:

I will be honest and let you know that it is possible for a roach to break your skin with its leg spikes, but thats about as far as it goes with them. It has happened to me, but I don't find it to be that big of a deal. They can only get enough leverage to do damage when they are being held or restrained. I don't like to restrain mine for that reason, but I worry that they will get hurt if they jump or fall down, so I will take a hit rather than drop my roach, if they are jumpy when I handle them. ;)

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Very nice! Isn't it just so fun getting your first ones and setting them up. They will be super happy in there! I know how you feel about the spiky legs! I still have a hard time handling mine, they have never hurt me as far as that goes, but it scares me more than anything the way they kick! lol...I go as far as using rubber gloves with them if I have to clean tanks and get them all out. Just easier on everyone that way. I know that is just me being "girlie" but I would rather do that, than take the risk of dropping them or having one stab me to the point that I am really afraid to pick them up! I have many different hissers, including a wonderful pair of adult Rhinos... (now those can poke!) but my big G.Ob's are the grumpiest of them all. I have a lot of respect for those big males I tell ya! I also love the way they stomp around the tank, being all hissy! lol! I just walk by their tank and I get hissed at.

You will have fun feeding them, and finding out what they like the best. Mine all are big on Romaine lettuce and oranges. Shredded carrots are a favorite all around. Just keep that fresh food in there for a day, so you keep the fruit flies down to a minimum. The little nasty pests are my biggest problem, mostly because of the higher humidity you have to keep the roaches at. I am trying to find a happy medium. I mist my hissers once a day. They don't like it, and hiss up a storm. Good luck, and look forward to seeing more photos!

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I have a new pair of gardening gloves that are made of goatskin, so I think I'll use those until I get the hang of handling them. Thanks for the heads-up about what they're capable of! Doesn't scare me off, but I will be careful. (I tested positive for a strong cockroach allergy a few years ago - I don't know if it transfers over to exotic roaches or not, but I'm trying to be careful just in case.)

I'm pretty familiar with hot and humid enclosures - I've been hermit crabbing the proper way (80 degrees, 80%RH) for two years now, so fruit flies don't stand a chance in my home anymore! :lol: It makes dinner time really easy - the roaches eat the same things as the hermits so I just get everything together for them at once and load up a plate to carry around and deliver their meals.

I do LOVE that I can have live plants in with the roaches. :D The hermits eat or destroy anything alive, so to have a natural terrarium is dream! The scorpions have a planted tank as well, and I'm waiting to expand that when we upgrade them in a few weeks.

One more thing if you could? I know that the roach mites aren't harmful to them, but they are getting all over me! Is that normal? When I handle the roaches I have to pick mites off my arms and even my camera for hours afterwards. It's a bit disturbing. Is something wrong that the mites are wanting to travel so much? I haven't read anything about them being on anything but the roaches

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One more thing if you could? I know that the roach mites aren't harmful to them, but they are getting all over me! Is that normal? When I handle the roaches I have to pick mites off my arms and even my camera for hours afterwards. It's a bit disturbing. Is something wrong that the mites are wanting to travel so much? I haven't read anything about them being on anything but the roaches

That doesn't sound like the right kind of mites, but mine don't have any so I can't be sure about that. Can you photograph or describe the mites that you have?

I had an issue with grain mites in one culture that improved almost overnight when I skipped a couple mistings. Those can spread all over. Thank goodness I started using little dishes recently cause it could have been much worse when I was just tossing in the fruits, veggies, and various dry foods.

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I'll attempt to get a photo of them tomorrow, but I'm not sure if my camera will focus on something that small. I can barely see them in the photos above but only because I know what to look for.

I'm unfortunately very familiar with wood mites, possibly grain mites - small shiny things about twice the size of a grain of sand. I just let them come and go in my scorpion and hermit crab tanks as they please. Tried to get rid of them once by sterilizing everything (6 hours of torture), and they were back in that tank and another brand-new set-up within three days. The populations explode and then disappear for months on end and they cause no damage, so I stopped caring. Wasn't worth the cost or the energy to gut the tanks every time they showed up. They are small and lumbering, these roach mite things were long-legged and fast.

As compared to wood mites - about three times the size with eight longer legs, just as plump and shiny, and a dark brown/pink color. They are fast, but not fast enough to where you can't follow them. They are also very hard to kill. <_< Lots and lots of squishing was required. (Almost as bad as a flea.) There were many on the hissers, but the dubia were in the same container as the hissers at the store for a week and the dubia didn't have any.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry about going awol - life got in the way. :)

I upgraded the hissers into a 30 gallon tonight, so I took the opportunity to get some photos of their mites. They do look just like the photos you linked to, likebugs. These are all on the female:





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  • 2 weeks later...

Mites...Probably the same communal ones I have on my hissers...Easy to remove...Just check out the thread I posted in the health area...It's cake!

They are mainly unsightly, they wont harm humans or other animals and wash off pretty easy!

Good luck!


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