These gentle giant cockroaches are an ideal pet

Are hissing cockroaches the must-have holiday gift of the year? Maybe not, but they are readily available to buy and are arguably one of the most obscure and unique pets you could own. We spoke with an entomologist, or bug scientist, about the pros and cons of this exotic pet.

“I’ve had them many times. They are so gentle. The only thing is they do sort of hiss when you touch them at first, but they don’t run very fast and are endearing because they are so slow,” said Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann, Ph.D, an urban entomology expert involved with New York State Integrated Pest Management Program at Cornell University.

The Madagascar hissing cockroach is not to be confused with your commonplace house roach. Measuring 2 to 3 inches long, this giant bug has no wings and prefers a strictly vegetarian diet of fresh greens. Nothing rotting or moldy will do, unlike its urban cousin.