What Do Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches Eat?

The Madagascar Hissing cockroach is an exotic name for a not-so-exotic-looking insect. This monstrosity is your typical cockroach times 10. The cockroach can measure up to 4 inches and display a segmented body with a color gradient going from light yellow on the lower abdomen to the dark brown/blackhead.

The cockroach will also display black and agile feet and long and mobile antennae used in moving and exploring the environment. Only a mother will love this Hell-spawn and, I guess, cockroach lovers.

If you’re among the latter, this article should be a treat for you. This article discusses the Madagascar cockroaches’ feeding habits, what they eat in the wild compared to captivity, and whether they make for good pets.

What do Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches Eat in the Wild?

Cockroaches typically live on forest floors and will feed on plants and fruits falling from the trees. They are scavengers and mostly omnivorous, capable of eating pretty much anything, primarily vegetable material. They prefer fruits over anything else since they provide them with nutrients and hydrate them at the same time.

Their diet is naturally more diverse in captivity. It’s one of the main reasons why Madagascar Hissing cockroaches tend to live more as pets than in the wild.

How to Feed Madagascar Hissing Roaches?

In captivity, Madagascar roaches will consume a variety of foods, the type of which they can’t really get in the wild. These include bananas, peanut butter, oranges (3 of their favorite foods, by the way), carrots, grapes, potatoes, etc. They are also fond of processed foods for cats and dogs. Apparently, these provide them with all the nutrients they need, and they love the taste.

To feed them properly, consider the following points:

  • Limit the moist food – Too much watery content can result in excess of fermentation gases which roaches won’t tolerate too well.
  • Diversity is not a requirement – Roaches are very hardy and adaptable creatures, and they don’t require a lot of diversity to thrive. One study has provided one colony of roaches with dry dog food and water over a period of more than 16 years. The colony not only survived but thrived, giving birth to numerous generations during that time.
  • Water is necessary – Roaches will get a lot of their water from their food, but they require a plus from time to time. Especially if you’re feeding them dry food.

There’s an important point I would like to discuss here. Most people who grow Madagascar Hissing roaches, or any other type of roaches, do so for 2 reasons:

  • They keep them as pets
  • They keep them as feeders (they grow the roaches to feed them to other pets like other insects, reptiles, or mammals)

The differences between the 2 are minor when it comes to feeding strategies:

  1. Pet Hissing Roache Diet – They can typically eat anything, including dog and cat food. Actually, I recommend these 2 options since they provide your roaches with all the necessary nutrients.
  2. Feeder Hissing Roach Diet – Feeder roaches may require a different diet, depending on the creature that’s supposed to eat them. You can purchase special protein powders to cover the roaches in prior to feeding them to your pets.

Can Madagascar Hissing Roaches Eat Meat?

Yes, they can. Like all roaches, the Madagascar Hissing cockroach is a highly adaptable and resilient creature with a varied diet. As an omnivorous animal, it will eat whatever it can find, which makes it so apt to live with humans. Sweets, starches, meats, greasy foods, veggies, fruits, bread, dog food; they will eat anything that can provide them with nutrition.

That being said, you don’t need to feed them meat on purpose. They can go without it easily, as roaches aren’t specialized eaters. As scavengers, they can thrive on whatever they can find available.

Can Madagascar Hissing Roaches Eat Bread?

Not only they can, but it’s among their favorites. Bread is a starch and one of the roaches’ go-to foods when getting close to human settlements. It doesn’t have to be fresh since they will eat it in any state with some minor exceptions.

If you’re looking to feed your Madagascar roaches starch, bread is a good option, alongside potatoes, pasta, greasy products, sweets, fruits, etc. They will consume everything with the same pleasure.

Do Madagascar Hissing Roaches Need Water?

Yes, but not as much as you would think. All roaches get their water from their food and Madagascar roaches are no different. You can provide them with the necessary water simply by feeding them moist foods at least once per day.

If you feed them rather dry food, set up a water drinking system to keep them hydrated. It’s pretty easy to do. You only need to:

  • Take an empty plastic container and drill a small hole into towards the bottom
  • Cover the hole with an absorbent material that would soak up fast, like cotton or a piece of rag
  • Fill up a container with water and place it in their enclosure

The roaches will suck the water from the cotton whenever they’re thirsty. This system should last them for several weeks, depending on the container’s size and how many roaches you have.


Madagascar Hissing Roaches are highly adaptable and amazing creatures in their own right. They are very peaceful and friendly since they don’t bite and don’t display aggression towards humans.

You can’t go wrong if you wish to keep them as pets. They also make for great feeders to various other pets, including tarantulas, lizards, snakes, small mammals, and carnivorous insects.

Insects   Updated: January 16, 2022
avatar Welcome to Insectic, a blog to learn about insects and bugs. I'm Richard, and I've created this website to share my experience, knowledge, and passion with others.

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