|This photo was taken this past June.|
My journey with the hissers started during my Junior year in college. I was taking Ecology and had to do some sort of experiment for my final in lab. After much thought, I decided to do an experiment to test for phenotypic plasticity. My test subjects were a group of fifty one-week-old baby Madagascar hissing cockroaches I obtained via my professor from her colony. When the month long experiment was over, I decided to keep one of the babies. That was who would eventually be known as Frankie. I wanted to have a group of all females, and we thought Frankie was a girl. I then picked up two adult females who I named Thelma and Louise. The other females (Lola and Brigite) I also obtained as adults, and Walter came later when I found out Frankie was a boy. I got them a nice terrarium, a sponge for water, and stuff to hide under. I was living with my parents at the time, and it took a lot of convincing to let me have them. I still couldn't get agreement to get some rats, but that's another story.
The first babies were born less than a month after I initially obtained the adult females. I hadn't thought about them being housed with males and coming to me gravid. I took them back to my professor, who was kind enough to take them. At that point, I thought I just had a few females and I might get a male some time in the future. Then, Frankie grew horns. Male hissers have prominent horns that are completely lacking in the females. I separated them for about six months, not wanting to end up with two hundred roaches. Then, I thought, why not? I got Walter and put them all in the same terrarium. That's not long before my first post about them began.
I don't know if I'll be getting more hissers. If I do, it's going to be a little while. I still have the terrarium and there's a store less than a mile away that sells them. They also have discoid roaches and some other very interesting critters. We shall see.