Other Invertebrates

Live-Bearing Cockroaches:  Arthropoda – Insecta, Blattodea Blaberidae

Most Common:
Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches (most common in pet trade): Gromphadorhina Protentosa/Madagascariensis

Natural Habitat/Distribution: Tropical regions (e.g., Rainforests, Caves, etc.)
Life span: 1-3 years on average
Size: 2-3 inches

Females create cocoon like egg case – oothica, they carry their neonatal nymphs and egg cases inside their body throughout gestation. They bear live young (30-50 nymph roaches)
Centipedes/Millipedes: Arthropoda – Myriapods, Class: Chilopoda (Centipede) and Diplododa (Millipede)

Most Common:
African Millipede: Archispirostreptus gigas
Giant Desert Centipede: Scolopendra heros

Natural Habitat/Distribution: Tropical – Arid depending on species/subspecies
Life span: Millipede (1-10 years on average depending on subspecies), Centipede (5-6 years)
Size: 1-10 inches

Mantids: Arthropoda – Insecta, Mantidae/Mantodea, Empusidae – Several Subspecies and Genera

Natural Habitat/Distribution: Temperate Regions – Various (e.g. North America, Europe, Asia)
Life span: 10-12 months
Size: 0.5-6 inches

Commonly known across all subspecies as “Praying Mantises” due to their prayer like stance. Their name common name is often misspelled as “preying” since they are indeed predators.

General Husbandry for all Species:

Enclosure/Habitat:
This is possibly the most exciting and interesting part of keeping invertebrates in general. The type of set up is mostly limited by the keepers imagination. Depending on the species there will be certain environmental needs that must be met. For the most part the enclosure can be anything from a small plastic container to a large elaborate terrarium with foliage (artificial plants preferable) and tunnel systems (created with pvc piping). Necessary considerations: Hide Box/Structure (i.e., log, cork bark, rocks, etc.), adequate substrate (minimum of 3-5 inches), temperature/humidity control, day/night cycle control (i.e., lighting), ventilation and a secure top. Be sure to clean and change on a frequent basis (full cleaning and changing every 2-3 months if possible, spot checks daily – every other day).

Climate/Humidity:
This will vary depending on what region of the world the animal comes from. If unsure a good range is a ambient temperature gradient of 70-80 degrees. If you are providing a basking area it can be slightly warmer beneath the lamp. Be sure this is not overheating the entire enclosure. A digital thermometer with a temperature probe is a good investment. Humidity should range from 50-80% (even desert species require a low level of humidity). This can be achieved with a combination of, humidity boxes (plastic container with moist sphagnum moss – remember to change frequently as mold and bacteria will form), large water bowls (be sure to use a rock or some other apparatus in large bowls that will allow escape if the animal falls into the bowl) and frequent misting.

Diet:
Roaches and Millipedes: Most are herbivorous/omnivorous. They will feed on vegetation (often when decomposing) and other organic material (e.g., leaf litter and soil). Some varieties will exhibit carnivorous tendencies. Please be sure to identify your specific subspecies and follow the diet consistent with other carnivorous insects.

Mantids and Centipedes: In their natural habitats they will consume a variety of insects and sometimes small mammals. In captivity the appropriate diet consists of crickets. If you would like to offer some variety from time to time, you can offer mealworms and other grubs. These should only be used as occasional food items. Crickets should be the primary food source. If they do not consume the crickets or other food item in a 24 hour period, be sure to remove them from the enclosure as this can contribute to stress and trauma (food items will begin to feed on your pet). They should be fed every 1-2 times per week. It is not uncommon for these animals to become anorexic. Their metabolism is very slow and allows for long periods without nutrition. Obviously if the animal goes without eating for more than 3-4 weeks, there might be an underlying problem (medical vs. environmental) and you should contact your veterinarian.