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General Hisser Questions


Severus
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Hi all! I am currently working on getting some Hissing Cockroaches here in the near future. I have to get my tank set up, my supplies ready, prepared, and set up, my proposed schedule ready, and my all important notebook. I just have some questions that I think I still need answered.

1. What is the preferred substrate for (your) hissers? What types of mixes?

2. What materials should be avoided specifically?

3 . How deep should the substrate be?

4. What is the easiest way to water hissers that will keep the water clean, clear and safe?

5. How long to the gel crystal things last? (x amount lasts so long)

6. Can you use crictet watering methods, like water pillows, cricket drink/quench, to water roaches? I've never kept either, so I don't know.

7. Do females need to mate every time they produce a brood, or do they just mate once and produce subsequent broods thereafter?

8. What animals will readily prey on them?

9. Is there much of a difference nutritionally feeding roaches as compared to crickets?

10. Do you "gut load" the same way?

11. What is the best way to introduce roaches to thier new environment?

12. What should I look for when inspecting my roaches upon arrival/purchase?

13. Should I house the potentially injured(at any point), separately from the rest?

14. I read somewhere that they prefer to be in groups. What is the lowest number to keep, would you reccommend?

15. Do solitary males have any adverse health issues? Live shorter lives, etc...

Should I have my roaches shipped.

16. What is the most common shipping method/price?

17. Are casualties common?

18. What factors most influence death during shipping?

19. What time of year/temperature range is best for shipping?

20. Do any of you have any links to any...suppliers of roaches?

Thank you all very much and I am sorry for the game of "Twenty Questions". I KNOW I am going to have more, if you all are willing to help. Have a great day everybody.

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Ok, I can't resist reply to this one!

First and foremost: Keeping hissers is NOT that complicated!!

1. What is the preferred substrate for (your) hissers? What types of mixes? None, any coconut product, cypress mulch

2. What materials should be avoided specifically? Anything toxic to you is to them.

3 . How deep should the substrate be? 0-2 inches recommended.

4. What is the easiest way to water hissers that will keep the water clean, clear and safe? Don't. Use water crystals and spray them once in a while. Most of thier water comes from thier food, which should be vegetables, fruit, and cat and/or fish food.

5. How long to the gel crystal things last? (x amount lasts so long) Several days or until eaten, whichever comes first.

6. Can you use crictet watering methods, like water pillows, cricket drink/quench, to water roaches? I've never kept either, so I don't know. Don't bother with these.

7. Do females need to mate every time they produce a brood, or do they just mate once and produce subsequent broods thereafter? There are some variables involved with this. So yes, and yes.

8. What animals will readily prey on them? Insectivores.

9. Is there much of a difference nutritionally feeding roaches as compared to crickets? Debatable. Depends what you are feeding them to. Roaches have more fat and more protein in general, so theoretically are "more better".

10. Do you "gut load" the same way? You should not gut load anything unless it is being fed to an otherwise nearly dead animal and needs an emergency meal.

11. What is the best way to introduce roaches to thier new environment? Place them there.

12. What should I look for when inspecting my roaches upon arrival/purchase? Check to see if they are moving or if they are stiff as a board. Check to see if they wave thier arms slowly when on thier back or do they panic and try to flip right side over. More activity is better.

13. Should I house the potentially injured(at any point), separately from the rest? No.

14. I read somewhere that they prefer to be in groups. What is the lowest number to keep, would you reccommend? 2 or more.

15. Do solitary males have any adverse health issues? Live shorter lives, etc... No.

Should I have my roaches shipped. Yes.

16. What is the most common shipping method/price? USPS, somewhere between 5 and 30 dollars US.

17. Are casualties common? No. However too much heat or too much cold exposure in shipping can be.

18. What factors most influence death during shipping? Direct exposure to weather. Being left in a mailbox on a hot summer day, for example :(

19. What time of year/temperature range is best for shipping? Spring and Fall. 50'F to 90'F

20. Do any of you have any links to any...suppliers of roaches? Please read the section that addresses "Dealer Reviews". These are people who sell roaches and what others think of them.

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Why thank you very much! You are very helpful. I'll add this to my notebook.

And yeah, I have gleaned enough from my reading to know that they are not complicated, but do you blame me for wanting to know as much as possible, before I get a group. I do this for every animal I get. It is best to know as much as possible up front. I have notebooks for all lof my pets. All the types of fish I keep, my birds, my rodents, my dogs(both on breed and care), my horses, and I have starts on other creatures I that interest me. I got into the habit years ago and I didn't think I'd break it on a couple of mere bugs.

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Why thank you very much! You are very helpful. I'll add this to my notebook.

And yeah, I have gleaned enough from my reading to know that they are not complicated, but do you blame me for wanting to know as much as possible, before I get a group. I do this for every animal I get. It is best to know as much as possible up front. I have notebooks for all lof my pets. All the types of fish I keep, my birds, my rodents, my dogs(both on breed and care), my horses, and I have starts on other creatures I that interest me. I got into the habit years ago and I didn't think I'd break it on a couple of mere bugs.

Hi Severus,

Certainly, nobody blames you. In fact, thank you for asking all those wonderful questions together. I think you managed to ask just about any question anybody would want to ask in the beginning. And you got some good, factual and informational answers. Every post is saved on this forum (for almost a decade now) and is searchable by future users who always have the very same questions. That was the best Q&A series I've seen for hissers! And I'm sure we all appreciate the example of respect you show towards caring for all animals, including the MOST successful group of animals on our planet...BUGS!

Thanks!

Peter

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Hey don't misunderstand me.... I do think you should ask any and all questions that you think are necessary for you to keep what you aim to. To make a point in a relative hobby: Person walks into a petshop and buys a fish they like the look of. They take the fish home and pour it into their aquarium. Within hours or a couple days the fish is dead. The most common cause for this? They did not ask questions! Fish are easy, and the most hardcore fish hobbiests still ask questions when they buy a fish. Questions = Happy Roaches, and not everyone knows to ask or even what to ask, so by asking you help many other potential hobbiests in addition to you. Ergo, new hobbiests can know what to ask when they get a particular species. How cool is that!

Why thank you very much! You are very helpful. I'll add this to my notebook.

And yeah, I have gleaned enough from my reading to know that they are not complicated, but do you blame me for wanting to know as much as possible, before I get a group. I do this for every animal I get. It is best to know as much as possible up front. I have notebooks for all lof my pets. All the types of fish I keep, my birds, my rodents, my dogs(both on breed and care), my horses, and I have starts on other creatures I that interest me. I got into the habit years ago and I didn't think I'd break it on a couple of mere bugs.

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Hey don't misunderstand me.... I do think you should ask any and all questions that you think are necessary for you to keep what you aim to. To make a point in a relative hobby: Person walks into a petshop and buys a fish they like the look of. They take the fish home and pour it into their aquarium. Within hours or a couple days the fish is dead. The most common cause for this? They did not ask questions! Fish are easy, and the most hardcore fish hobbiests still ask questions when they buy a fish. Questions = Happy Roaches, and not everyone knows to ask or even what to ask, so by asking you help many other potential hobbiests in addition to you. Ergo, new hobbiests can know what to ask when they get a particular species. How cool is that!

Oh no, I wasn't trying to be snitty when I said that in my reply. I really do appreciate the info. That is actually the clearest info I have gotten(possibly because it is all right there next to my exact questions). You gave me exactly what I needed. I know now that I HAVE a place I can have questions answered which I love. The greatest joy in life is learning.

Now what about the mating question:

7. Do females need to mate every time they produce a brood, or do they just mate once and produce subsequent broods thereafter? There are some variables involved with this. So yes, and yes.

Is there a brief way to sum that up or another post or article link that explains it? Say, for example, you end up with a gravid female(right term?) that you do not keep in contact with a male. After she has the first brood, will she be, in horse terms "Open", or will she produce other broods after that first?

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Ok, birds and bees time. ;)

There are a lot of things that can effect the reproduction in female roaches. I used to think that it was an "on" or "off" thing, much like women can be pregnant or not. Different species -even among hisser types- can have alot of variables. Long story short version would be how successful was the mating of that female roach and what kind of health condition is she in?

Long story long version: If she has had plenty of water to drink, food to eat, and maintained in a good temperature range, she will be most viable. Females have two organs that are used for the storage and dispersal of sperm from a mating. On a successful breeding with a male, sperm is stored in a compartment over the oviduct where the eggs go from where they are made into the brood chamber. As a batch of eggs are produced, the second sperm-related gland secretes a carrier fluid that washed over the opening of the sperm storage gland thus carrying sperm over the eggs and fertilizing them.

Analogy time: Take a cup of coffee. Hold it over the sink and turn on the faucet. As water flows into the coffee cup it carries coffee out with it as the cup overflows. Eventually all the coffee is diluted and rinsed out of the coffee cup. When roaches mate, the females 'cup' is filled with coffee, and as she makes eggs the 'coffee' is rinsed out over the eggs by ther 'faucet' gland.

Having said this, hopefully you can imagine how it really depends how much coffee is in the cup and how diluted it is and how that may effect the eggs being produced.

Savvy?

Because of this, some roaches like Periplaneta americana can lay fertile eggs for almost a year off of one mating. Other type of roaches may only be able to become gravid or lay ootheca fertile 1-3 times after mating.

Now for the negatives: If the female became dehydrated or went too long without food, the sperm could have been destroyed or even absorbed by the female, so she would not be able to become gravid at all. If she was in poor condition food/moisture wise when she mated, some or none of the males sperm may have survived the experience.

SO, to make a long story longer, that is why my answer was "yes, and yes". They generally don't need to mate every time to produce a brood. However, depending on housing conditions they might have to. In a good condition, I would think that if they mate every few months or so they would produce year round.

Questions?

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