Gen­tle gi­ant Mada­gas­can cock­roaches made pets by many

The Witness - - FRONT PAGE -

CHELSEA PIETERSE UNIVER­SITY of KwaZulu­Natal en­to­mol­ogy mas­ters stu­dent Olieve Fynn says Mada­gas­can Hiss­ing Cock­roaches are not as dan­ger­ous as they look.

Al­though fairly large in size, and rath­ er creepy look­ing, these cock­roaches can­not be found lurk­ing about your kitchen cup­boards, ready to fly at your face as soon as you try to catch them.

Mada­gas­can Hiss­ing Cock­roaches are rather gen­tle, and will sit quite hap­pily in the palm of your hand un­til you are ready to put them back into their cages.

It is one of the largest species of cock­roach, reach­ing be­tween five and seven cen­time­tres and na­tive to the is­land of Mada­gas­car. They have been made into pets by many, with Fynn say­ing the male and fe­male of the species can be iden­ti­fied by their heads — the male has two small humps on his head while the fe­male has a smooth head.

She said these cock­roaches can­not bite hu­mans. How­ever, if they at­tempt to bite you, she said, it will feel “like they are giv­ing you tiny kisses”.

These roaches are known to be great climbers and are even able to scale smooth glass sur­faces.

In cap­tiv­ity, these in­sects have been known to live up to five years and have a veg­etable or plant diet.

PHOTO: IAN CARBUTT

Univer­sity of KwaZulu­Natal mas­ters stu­dent Olieve Fynn at the Royal Show yes­ter­day with Mada­gas­can Hiss­ing Cock­roaches.

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