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Do Cockroaches Make Good Pets?

Keeping a roach as a pet isn’t for everyone, but for those interested, the idea can be quite tantalizing. 

But can you actually make a pet out of a roach? 

Cockroaches can make good pets because they are low maintenance and relatively quiet. However, if you want to keep a roach as a pet, you should always buy one from a reputable breeder, rather than just grabbing one you find in your house. 

Pros of Keeping Cockroaches as Pets 

Woman feeding a cockroach with a carrot.

Although keeping a roach as a pet isn’t for everyone, there are several surprising upsides to maintaining a captive cockroach. 

1) They Do Not Die Easily 

If you’ve ever had a cockroach infestation, you know they do not die easily. 

This fact can be annoying if you’re trying to get them out of your house, but it is great news if you want one as a pet. 

Overall, roaches do not need much to survive and can even live for over a month without food. 

They also don’t require a balanced diet like many other animals, and they’ll eat virtually anything you give them. 

Plus, they are much harder to smash than other insects because of their flexible exoskeletons. 

2) You Don’t Have to Spend Money on Food 

Most cockroaches do not require any kind of fancy food to survive. 

And they can consume a broad array of different foods. 

Really, for the most part, you can just throw any extra scraps off your plate into their cage, and they’ll be happy to eat them. 

3) They Don’t Require High Temperatures 

Many exotic pets, such as the majority of reptiles, require temperatures above 90°F (32°C). 

However, most cockroaches do not need heat this high and instead prefer temperatures in the upper 70°s F (24-27°C). 

4) Roaches Don’t Smell Bad 

Unlike the common pest roach, pet cockroaches do not have much of a smell. 

You may notice a slightly oily odor coming from your roach, but this smell is not nearly as pungent as some other pets, such as ferrets. 

However, the death’s head cockroach does sometimes release a smell when scared, but it is not very strong. 

5) Roaches Are Quiet 

For the most part, pet cockroaches do not make noise. 

Some may produce the occasional chirp, but other than that, roaches are pretty quiet pets. 

The only exception is the Madagascar hissing cockroach, which makes a distinctive hissing sound when angry or threatened. 

And this noise can be rather loud, especially when you consider the tiny body that’s producing it. 

Yet overall, even this roach won’t make too much noise. 

6) Roaches Don’t Need Big Cages 

Since roaches are pretty small, they do not require large cages. 

In fact, many roaches can live in a container as small as half a gallon (2 liters). 

These tiny cages are also very cheap when compared to, say, the average reptile tank. 

Cons of Keeping Cockroaches as Pets 

Although there are a lot of pros to keeping cockroaches as pets, there are also some downsides. 

1) Not Everyone Will Like Your New Pet

Probably the biggest con of having a pet cockroach (or maybe a pro, depending on your attitude) is that many people will not like it. 

A lot of people have a natural aversion to cockroaches, meaning that many people will not want to be around your roach. 

Also, interestingly, some people even have a cockroach phobia, which can make them start to panic if they get near one. 

2) Roach Allergies Aren’t Uncommon 

About ¼ of people are allergic to cockroaches. 

And these allergies can come with symptoms, such as: 

  • Sneezing 
  • Itchy and watery eyes 
  • Wheezing 
  • Rash 
  • Swollen face or tongue
  • Stomach pain
  • Dry skin
  • Runny nose 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Nausea 
  • Cough 
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 

These symptoms can even occur without ever coming into direct contact with the roach. 

Roaches shed pieces of their skin all the time, which can get into the air and cause allergies. 

Having roaches in the house can also worsen asthma. 

3) Roaches Don’t Live Very Long 

Unfortunately, most pet cockroach breeds don’t live very long. 

For instance, one of the most common captive roach species, the Madagascar hissing cockroach, only lives between two and five years. 

Many other species do not even make it this long. 

4) Roaches Don’t Play 

You may have seen this one coming, but cockroaches do not play with their owners in the same way that many other animals do. 

Roaches also do not grow real attachments to their owners. 

However, some people have claimed that their pet roaches do prefer them over others, which shows some level of trust. 

5) Cockroaches Don’t Like to Be Alone 

If you plan on keeping a pet cockroach, it’s best if you get them some friends. 

Cockroaches are very social creatures, meaning they will not be happy alone. 

Generally, you should have at least five cockroaches in one enclosure, but more than ten is preferable. 

Which Cockroaches Can I Make Into a Pet?

Hissing cockroaches on a rock.

Generally speaking, it is not a good idea to pick up any cockroach you find roaming around and make it into a pet. 

The primary issue is that common roaches often have a lot of bacteria on them, so they can make you quite sick if you handle them. 

You’re much better off buying a cockroach from a reputable breeder. 

Plus, exotic cockroaches are much more attractive looking, and some exhibit unique behaviors. 

What Type of Cockroaches Make the Best Pets?

Below, I list some of the best cockroach species to keep as pets and provide you with some general information about them. 

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach 

Probably the best known of the pet cockroach species, Madagascar hissing roaches have remained popular due primarily to the loud hiss they produce when startled. 

These roaches also make great pets because they usually don’t mind people handling them.  

Death’s Head Cockroach 

The death’s head cockroach has maintained its popularity mainly due to its unique appearance. 

Because, on the back of these roaches, you will notice a pattern that looks like a skull. 

Death’s head cockroaches are also pretty big, which makes them one of the sturdier pet insects. 

Green Banana Cockroach 

The green banana cockroach is another species that stands out due to its flashy appearance. 

This roach is a vibrant light green with a touch of yellow, making it look like a ripening banana. 

What makes this pet even better is that it can withstand a wide array of environments. 

Indian Domino Cockroach 

If you’re looking for a cute pet insect that looks more like a ladybug than a roach, you should try out the Indian domino cockroach. 

With its black body and white spots, this roach is the perfect mixture of adorable and cool. 

Giant Burrowing Cockroach 

The giant burrowing cockroach is quickly becoming a favorite in the world of exotic pets because it is the heaviest roach in existence. 

This creature also looks like it’s covered in armor, a bit like an armadillo. 


Cockroaches definitely can make great pets, and there are plenty of wonderful species out there. 

However, you should remember that although these pets are cheap and easy to care for, they can also cause allergic reactions and can be frightening to some people.