Giant cave cockroaches are one of the largest species of cockroach in the world, reaching up to four inches in length.
Diet: Cave cockroaches are a type of scavenger called a detritivore. They eat a variety of dead insects, animals, decaying fruit, and guano (bat droppings). At the Zoo, the giant cave cockroaches eat yams, apples, and oranges with a little bit of dog food.
In the Wild: Being nocturnal they come out from their shelter mostly when it is dark. Like most insects, cockroaches lay eggs. The females will lay their eggs in an egg case, called an ootheca, and after about 60 days, the nymphs, or babies, will emerge.
Conservation Issues/Actions: Like all cockroach species, giant cave cockroaches are not household pests but actually play a key role in the environment. Breaking down organic matter into nutrients for the soil allows plants to grow and animals to thrive. The removal of cockroaches would affect the entire ecosystem!
At Reid Park Zoo:
Come visit the cave cockroaches in the Conservation Learning Center. If you notice a cave cockroach that looks different than the others, don’t worry! Cockroaches molt, or shed, their exoskeleton as they grow. When they do this, they appear white. Reid Park Zoo is also home to Madagascar hissing cockroaches, which are ambassador animals that remain behind-the-scenes until making an appearance for education programs and presentations.