CockroachMadagascar is an island located just off of the Southeast coast of Africa. Before you start packing off for a fabulous African vacation, it might be fun to learn about just one of the island’s inhabitants. Here are twenty facts about the Madagascar hissing cockroach.

1. These hissing cockroaches are native only to the island of Madagascar, and if you see them anywhere else on earth … someone brought them there.

2. The males are territorial, and they fight intruders. Some may say that a Madagascar hissing cockroach is as stubborn as a goat because they fight ‘butting heads’ similar to a goat’s behavior.

3. Baby Madagascar hissing cockroaches are called ‘nymphs’.

4. Female Madagascar hissing cockroaches only breed once in a lifetime, but can have as many as three litters annually.

5. Madagascar hissing roaches grow to reach 3-4 inches in length.

6. Like dogs and cats have fleas, Madagascar hissing cockroaches carry mites but they cannot hurt or live on humans. A good way to remove them from a Madagascar hissing cockroach is to place the little creature in a plastic bag with a teaspoon of flour, and gently shake.

7. The Madagascar hissing cockroach lives as an important scavenger in their native habitat by keeping the jungle floor clean, but in captivity a good meal is a serving of dog or cat food and a piece of fresh fruit.

8. Baby Madagascar hissing cockroaches (nymphs) are about the length of a small watermelon seed and they are flat.

9. Momma Madagascar hissing cockroaches carry their babies for exactly sixty days.

10. The Madagascar hissing cockroach produces the famous hissing sound by forcing air out of tiny places on the sides of their bodies called ‘spiracles’. They use the hissing sound for communication with other Madagascar hissing cockroaches, during mating, while fighting or when they feel threatened.

11. A Madagascar hissing cockroach’s feet are sticky.

12. A Madagascar hissing cockroach has lots of enemies. Some insects, mammals, birds, and reptiles would love to eat them.

13. The Madagascar hissing cockroach is nocturnal, meaning that they are more active at night. They are actually afraid of light.

14. The Madagascar hissing cockroach may be a member of the roach family but unlike others roaches, they have no wings.

15. Nymphs go through seven stages of growth before reaching adulthood, molting six times.

16. The average life span of a Madagascar hissing cockroach is anywhere from two to three years.

17. A nymph can mature faster in warmer climates.

18. When a Madagascar hissing cockroach sheds its exoskeleton, they eat it because it’s filled with nutrients.

19. Scientists tell the males and females apart by their horns, actually they are called pronatal humps, but they appear hornlike. These pronatal humps are more pronounced in the male species.

20. Out of all of the species in the cockroach family researchers believe that the Madagascar hissing cockroach is most like the prehistoric cockroaches that roamed the earth long before the dinosaurs. They are also called ‘living fossils’ for this reason.