Tag Archives: interesting animal facts

Giant Hissing Cockroaches – Oh My!

I just got two Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches for my live show and boy are they weird and creepy! Here’s what Wikipedia says:

The Madagascar hissing cockroach (Gromphadorhina portentosa), also known as the hissing roach or simply hisser, is one of the largest species of cockroach, reaching 2–3 inches at maturity. They are from the island of Madagascar off the African coast, where they can be found in rotting logs.

Unlike most cockroaches, they are wingless. They are excellent climbers and can scale smooth glass. Males can be distinguished from females by their thicker, hairier antennae and the pronounced “horns” on the pronotum. Females carry the ootheca (egg case) internally, and release the young nymphs only after the eggs have hatched. As in some other wood roaches, the parents and offspring will commonly remain in close physical contact for extended periods of time. In captivity, these insects can live 5 years. They feed primarily on vegetable material.

The Madagascar cockroach has become a popular pet because of its hissing sound, large size, and appearance. Their nickname, “hissing cockroach”, is due to their ability to force gas through the breathing pores (spiracles) found on their abdomen. The Madagascar hissing cockroach is believed to be the only non-human that can growl in this exact manner,[1] as most insects that make a “hissing” sound do so by rubbing together various body parts. (Some long-horned beetles, e.g., the Giant Fijian long-horned beetle, can squeeze air out from under their elytra, but this does not involve the spiracles). This hiss takes two forms: the disturbance hiss and the fighting hiss. All cockroaches from the fourth instar (fourth molting cycle) and older are capable of the disturbance hiss. Only males use the fighting hiss; they use it when challenged by other males. This results in one of the males backing down and the fight being over. Males hiss more often than females.

I’ll be doing a video episode on these freaky creatures soon – stay tuned for that. Check out my web site for other videos – www.enzoology.com.

-Enzo

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The African Penguin

* African Penguins are also known as Jackass Penguins, Spheniscus demersus (Latin) and Blackfoot Penguins.

* They eat mainly fish (anchovies, pilchards, sardines, mackerel and herrings) but they also eat squid and shellfish.

* African Penguins are about 60cm tall.

* Boys tend to be a little bigger than girls.

* They weigh between 2.4 and 3.6kgs.

* African Penguins dive on average to 30m,

* Can dive as deep as 130m.

* They hold their breath on a dive for an average of 2.5 minutes.

* African Penguins can swim up to 20 km per hour when hunting

* Their average swimming speed is 7km/h

* Average life span is 10 years.

* Start breeding at aprox. 4 yrs old, and normally lay 2 eggs in a nest that is burrowed in guano or sand

* Incubation period is about 38-42 days, with the mum and dad sharing the incubation duties.

* They live in colonies on 24 islands and along the coast between Namibia and Port Elizabeth.

The Capybara – the world’s largest rodent

Capybaras are the largest rodent in the world! They are related to guinea pigs and chinchillas.

Capybara Facts:

They live 5-10 years in the wild
Capybaras mostly eat grass. In fact, the word Capybara means, “master of the grasses.”
People get them confused with tapirs, pigs or nutria.
They have webbed feet and are awesome swimmers!
They can hold their breath underwater for up to 5 minutes.
A Capybara can even sleep underwater, keeping its nose just at the waterline!

Capybaras can weight up to 150 pounds!

Capybaras are found in Central and South America in habitats ranging from flooded savannah and grassland, and along rivers in tropical forest.

Capybaras live in herds and are very social.

Predators include: anacondas, jaguars, foxes, birds of prey and wild dogs. Even people!

To help protect them, it is illegal to hunt capybaras in Colombia. But sometimes they are killed by humans who see their grazing as competition for livestock.