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Macropanesthia rhinoceros seem inactive


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Hello, I have two Macropanesthia rhinoceros nymphs that are approximately seven months old. Over the past couple of months, it would appear that they are becoming less active. I seldom see them at night and their leaves are not being disturbed on the surface. Previously, they would take bites out of their leaves or transport small pieces underground. I am able to view them by peering through the glass underneath their enclosure and they are alive, but not coming to the surface to eat. Has anyone else experienced this? Their enclosure is a ten gallon fish tank with 4" of substrate (organic potting soil, sand, coir mix). I water the center portion to give them options for dampness. They are third generation raised on oak leaves. They are indoors and the temperature is in the low '70s. There is very little information available on these little guys and I'm hoping to give them long, healthy lives!

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Well first off, unless the soil is incredibly stable, I'd make it far more shallow, these roaches live in deep, almost cavernous burrows in stable soil in the wild, and thus never have to molt covered with substrate like "substrate swimming" burrowers do... If they have substrate covering them in captivity while they molt, this often leads to fatal mismolts, thus a lot of people recommend only using a CM or so of substrate for nymphs, basically making the enclosure mimic one of their burrow chambers. 

Secondly, these roaches aren't all that active normally, and given the fact their growth slows down as they get older, I'd say the behavior you're seeing is normal. 

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Update! I pared down the substrate last night and both roaches took a tour of their enclosure. One has been burrowed all night from what I can tell while the other has been exploring, eating, and burrowing in various locations. The most interesting thing is that both roaches are typically very shy and hide when they see me. The more active roach doesn't seem to mind me at all anymore and even crawled onto my hand when I was modifying their enclosure. They appear to have grown some since I saw them last. Such fascinating creatures!

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