Cockroaches make the best pets! Why? Because they LIKE being left alone in a dark musty corner all day! Heh heh heh.

No, but really, you should check on them at least once a week. They CAN be left much longer, but you don't actually want them to experience hardships, so be sure to always supply them with food and water.

There are many ways to keep cockroaches as pets. Here's the SWELL method (that is, the method I here at use) to keep Madagascar hissing cockroaches, Gromphadorhina portentosa. They're a large, sluggish species with no wings, so they're super ideal pets.

You need a container! I use a reptile tank. Make sure the air spaces in the tank are too small for potential baby roaches to squeeze through, so you might want a sheet of bug netting between the container and the lid. Fill the container with the kinda stuff you'd fill a container for reptiles or tarantulas with. You CAN just line it with newspaper or tissue paper, but I like to give them the option to dig around. Once I found one of my roaches submerged in the substrate with his antennas poking up like a little submarine and it was the cutest freaking thing.

Add some enrichment to the container! Cockroaches are thigmotacs, which means they feel safe when they get to squeeze themselves into small areas, feeling pressure against their little bodies from all sides. So make sure you place some objects in there that have some weight in them where they can squeeze to their little hearts' content. I use driftwood from the pet shop. A lot of people use egg cartons.

Feeding time! Make sure there's always fresh food and water available in a little bowl. I use flake type fish food as basic food for my roaches, and supplement them with fresh fruit and vegetables from time to time. For water, you can use specialty water jelly you get at the pet store, or fill a small bowl with water that you put cotton, tissue paper, marbles or pebbles in to make sure there's no relatively large body of water for your roaches to fall into and drown in.

And you're all set! Ideally, your roach tank is placed in a dark, warm spot in your home. If you want ideal breeding conditions, you might need to attach a pet tank heater.

Here are some photographs of my own pet cockroaches!

Louise all dressed up for cat day!

Freshly molted cockroaches will be white for the few hours it takes before their new exoskeleton hardens.

The colony huddled together in an ice cream container while I clean their tank.

This little roachie is eating some banana residue off my finger.

Just two girls snuggling up with a plastic beetle.

Louise is ready for her closeup!

Wendy Elizabeth the LONG roach!!

Baby cockroaches are teeny tiny and are called nymphs!

Dorothea and her nymphs.