Children are usually fascinated by animals – and we completely understand why; especially ones they don’t see every day. Hissing cockroaches are such little creatures and we love introducing them to children. Teaching you everything you need to know about these amazing creatures is our very own hissing cockroach, Esmerelda.
As Esmerelda is an insect; she has a head, a thorax, an abdomen, six legs, and antennae, amounting to a length of around 2-3 inches. She’s very easy to recognise within the cockroach family; she has a smooth and oval shaped body with a shiny appearance, but no wings. She is, however, an extremely good climber! Her average lifespan is around two to three years, and we always make sure to treat her with a lot of love so she lives a long, happy life.
Esmerelda is extremely docile and friendly, but she is known to hiss – she is, after all, a hissing cockroach! Unlike most insects, who make sound by rubbing body parts together (like crickets), She has breathing pores in her abdomen, or spiracles as they are known, and the hissing noise is the result of air being forcibly expelled through them. Males are known to hiss when trying to mate with females, but whole colonies can hiss in unison.
What’s a Day in the Life of Esmerelda?
Our little Esmerelda has a very busy life meeting children and relaxing in her 5-star accommodation. A typical meal for her includes a wide variety of fresh vegetables and fruits and a lot of TLC.
Typically found on Madagascar’s forest floor, hissing cockroaches eat vegetable matter and other decaying fruit and greens. As decomposers, they eat fallen vegetation on the forest floor and help to return all the nutrients to the soil.
If she were to come across a male of her species, she’d easily recognise him due to the thicker and hairier antennae. The horns are also a telling detail! Male hissing cockroaches are bigger, and they use their horns to fight for dominance and to court females. Should Esmerelda feel inclined to start a family, she could produce up to 60 eggs that she would hold inside her until she gave birth.
Meeting Other Insect Friends
Although Esmerelda and other hissing cockroaches aren’t in our gardens, meeting Esmerelda is a great way of letting your children know everything about all of the other mini beasts you can easily see in your very own garden.
By being introduced to these mini beasts from a young age, children learn the importance of all creatures – including the seemingly terrifying ones, such as spiders. They will learn vital skills that will teach them how even the smallest mini creature brings balance to the environment and how these incredible creatures live such interesting lives. Educational and fun, these experiences with a wide range of mini beasts bring a sense of awe and connection with nature they won’t find anywhere else.
Esmerelda always astonishes children and teachers alike with her patience and good nature. Unlike what you would assume, she’s very clean and completely harmless and enjoys being handled gently. She’ll love you forever if you feed her carrots – her favourite food! If you want to introduce Esmerelda to your children, we’re sure they’ll have a great time and love her as much as we do!
Feel free to contact us by giving us call on 07432 560371 and we’ll happily help you set up an animal party or workshop.
In the meantime, make sure to check back again soon to see which mini beast will feature in our running ‘Get to Know a Creature’ series!