Definitions

Discoid cockroach

Discoid cockroach

The discoid cockroach is also commonly called the false death's head cockroach. This species of roach lives in tropical South America. They can grow up to 3 in long and although they have wings as adults, they do not fly. They also can not climb smooth surfaces such as glass. These two characteristics make them easy to raise in an aquarium and they do not even require a lid. Most high protein food sources are sufficient to maintain them, such as dry dog food. Misting with water is required to maintain a high humidity level in captivity and to supply drinking water. A sponge in a shallow dish is also effective for drinking water. The markings on the back of the head give rise to the name death's head since it appears to be something like a vampire symbol to many people.

Discoids are false death's head because of their superficial resemblance to the death's head cockroach. You should not mist them to keep up humidity this will promote mold growth. also a sponge in the water dish will promote bacterial growth. They should eat dry dog and cat food or some other dry source of protein. Also they can be given carrot and potato for moisture, carrot will also provide beta carotene which promotes color in many animals. They can eat and should be given a variety of fresh fruit and vegetable scraps. Keep their food in a dish (or two) dry food and wet/fresh separate. On the opposite side of the tank keep and auto water dish or just a shallow water dish and replace when empty or dirty. Keep the roaches on mulch or peat and give them egg crates to spread out on. Also even though they can not climb glass they can climb silicone and will climb the corners of the aquarium. The nice thing is if these get out you don't have to worry about them infesting your house. They are tropical and will desiccate rather quickly if not given a water source.

As feeder animals

These are very easy to raise in captivity and therefore make good feeders for pets such as tarantulas, bearded dragon and other various lizards. They breed somewhat faster than the true death's head cockroach and get slightly larger. They are also less expensive as of 2006, costing about $50 for 50 animals, compared to about $100 for the true death's heads. The true death's heads are far more attractive if you are looking for something to show off, having jet black wings and more elaborate markings on the head.

Discoid cockroaches also produce considerably less odor than crickets, another common feeder animal. They can survive on many substrates and to some extent they will clean their own cage, only requiring cleaning on a monthly basis or less. Walnut shell makes a good substrate because it masks the feces, giving the terrarium a cleaner appearance.

These animals breed readily in captivity. They reach breeding age in about 6 months if kept warm, with 85ºF-90ºF being recommend for more productive breeding. Females will carry their eggs in a pocket on the back of their abdomen until they hatch.

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