Seneca Park Zoo raises a colony of Madagascar hissing cockroaches, both young and old and both males and females.
Although not yet evaluated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), they are considered not threatened because of their observable large population size. However, their forest habitats are some of the most threatened areas in Madagascar due to deforestation for mining and agricultural purposes. As decomposers, these cockroaches are important nutrient-cyclers in the local food chains.
As the name suggests, Madagascar hissing cockroaches are only found in Madagascar, a large island nation off the southeast coast of mainland Africa. They prefer to live on the floor of tropical forests.
Like other cockroaches, Madagascar hissing cockroaches are decomposers, meaning they feed on dead and decaying organic matter. They prefer plant sources such as fallen leaves and fruit.
When threatened, they hiss by forcibly pushing air out of tiny breathing holes.
Males can be distinguished by small – but prominent – bumpy horns near their head that are used to intimidate rival males during breeding.