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Tropical Roaches

tropical spotted and giant islander

Tropical roaches originate from warmer, moist environments.

Tropical Cockroach Facts

They will reach adult size in 6 months, under ideal conditions

Average Adult Size up to 3 inches long
Average Life Span 1 to 3 years with proper care
Diet herbivore


A well-balanced roach diet consists of:

  • Romaine lettuce, red leaf lettuce, apples, carrots, and occasional overripe fruits.


Things to remember when feeding your roach:

  • Fresh, clean, chlorine-free water should be available at all times.
  • Feed daily


  • Appropriately sized habitat to accommodate normal behaviors and exercise, with secure lid
  • Habitat – provide hiding areas using non toxic plants, branches, logs or cork bark; maintain high humidity by misting daily.
  • Substrate – mulch-type commercial material such as coconut fiber bedding, dampened sphagnum moss and reptile bark.
  • Temperature - temperature between 75-95°F; use an under tank heater.
  • Lighting – cockroaches are nocturnal and have no special lighting needs. Don’t expose them to direct sunlight for long periods of time. To view cockroaches at night, use a black or infrared light.
  • Water - use a commercial cricket waterer or a water bowl. Use chlorine-free water and place stones in the bowl to prevent roaches from drowning. Commercial water drink (gel) is a good alternative water source
  • House adult cockroaches together but do not house different cockroach species together.

Appearance & life cycle

  • Male cockroaches have large horns behind their heads while females have very small horns. Cockroaches are nocturnal (active at night). Handle cockroaches gently; while they don't bite, they do have sharp spines on their legs. Juveniles must molt several times before reaching adulthood; once grown they do not molt again.

Habitat Maintenance

  • Change water daily. Mist habitat several times daily to maintain high humidity. Replace substrate every two weeks.

Grooming & Hygiene

  • Cockroaches have a waxy coating; always wash your hands after touching your cockroaches, and avoid getting the coating into cuts and scratches.


signs of a healthy animal

  • Eats regularly
  • Body is rounded and full
  • Active and alert
  • Healthy exoskeleton

Red Flags

  • Swollen limbs
  • Lethargic
  • Weight loss
  • Abnormal feces
  • Discharge in mouth or eyes
  • Dull exoskeleton

Common Health Issues

Health Issue Symptoms or Causes Suggested Action
Health Issue Dehydration Symptoms or Causes Slow moving, shriveled appearance Suggested Action Consult your exotic animal veterinarian and spray-mist the habitat more frequently

Shopping list for needed supplies:


Talk to a Petco store partner to an associate about the Petco library of books on roaches.

Talk to a store partner about our many private brand items available for the care and happiness of your pet.

Because all invertebrates are potential carriers of infectious diseases, such as Salmonella, always wash your hands before and after handling your invertebrate and/or habitat contents to help prevent the potential spread of diseases.

Pregnant women, children under the age of 5 and people with weakened immune systems should contact their physician before purchasing and/or caring for an invertebrate and should consider not having an invertebrate as a pet.

For more information regarding invertebrates and disease, contact the Centers for Disease Control at

This care sheet can cover the care needs of other species.

Note:The information on this care sheet is not a substitute for veterinary care. If you need additional information, please refer to the sources below or contact your veterinarian as appropriate.

Developed with and approved by a qualified veterinarian.