How to keep cockroaches as pets

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Cockroaches often harbour a negative reputation, being best known as creatures that infest a house, or the only living thing likely to survive a nuclear holocaust (not 100% true).

However, did you know cockroaches can also be kept as pets, both on their own and as feeder insects for your reptile? Here’s a quick guide to keeping and maintaining a healthy cockroach colony in your home.

Housing your cockroaches

Purchase an enclosure which is big enough to house all your cockroaches; a general rule of thumb is to buy a tank which is at least six times bigger than the space the cockroaches will occupy. You also need to know that none of them are going to escape. Cockroaches – especially young ones – are notorious for being able to work their way through small apertures, while some species can fly, so ensure you factor these considerations into your decision making.

Provide your cockroaches with an environment that suits them (see below) and plenty of hiding places – use wood, stones or tree bark for this in damp environments and make use of old materials such as egg cartons for dry ones.

Keeping them warm

There are many different species of cockroach, with some living in hot conditions and some preferring the cold (although Antarctica is the only place they’re not naturally found). Do your research on the species you’re planning to house and ensure their environment is the correct heat and humidity.

What to feed them

Again, what your cockroach eats will depend on the species, but generally these insects like to eat fruit and vegetables, along with – what sounds to us – less palatable stuff, such as rotting wood, rotting leaves and moistened cat or fish good.

When feeding your cockroaches, simply place the food in their enclosure. If they don’t like what you give them, they’ll leave it – ensure you remove this rejected food before it moulds or rots.

Cockroaches might not be as talkative as a parrot, as cool as a snake, or as energetic as a ferret, but in the correct environment, they can make for a great educational pet.

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