Madagascan Hissing Cockroach


Madagascan hissing cockroaches are nocturnal, foraging at night. They communicate by hissing, they do this by pushing air through a pair of openings in their abdomen called spiracles. This produces a loud hissing noise that can startle a predator, giving the cockroach a chance to escape.

Come and see the Madagascan hissing cockroach in the ‘Disscovery Zone' (only open at set times throughout the day).

All about us

Distribution: Madagascar
Habitat: Tropical forests
Height: Length 5-7.5 cm (2-3 in.)
Weight: Up to 22.7 grams (0.8 oz.)
Lifespan: 2 - 5 years
Threats: The forests in Madagascar are one of the most threatened of all habitats and due to deforestation and forest degradation

About us

Scientific name: Gromphadorhina portentosa

Madagascan hissing cockroaches act as decomposers, eating leaf-litter on the forest floor and decaying plant, rotten fruits that have fallen from trees, fungi and animal tissue.

They are wingless members of the cockroach family. Like other cockroaches, their bodies are flattened, which allows them to crawl into narrow crevices. Their head is small, and is usually held underneath the thorax. The adults are dark brown with dark orange markings on the abdomen.

Madagascan Hissing Cockroach Facts

Magagascan hissing cockroaches are also called 'living fossils' because they are most like the prehistoric cockroaches that roamed the earth long before the dinosaurs.
They provide an important role in Madagascar acting as nutritional recyclers.
Males have a pair of large bumps or horns behind their heads on the thorax; these are used in territorial fights. Females have much smaller bumps or none at all.