The first mention of cockroaches can often make your skin crawl and your hairs stand on edge. These crawling insects are synonymous with dirt and filth, and to make matters worse; like a giant bacteria magnet, they can also assist in the spread of disease!
1. Cockroaches are cannibals
Roaches aren’t fussy eaters at all, they will eat pretty much anything, fruit, glue, faeces, you name it! They have even taken to eating other cockroaches to settle their rumbling stomachs.
2. They are really old
Well, cockroaches themselves aren’t exactly old, the average lifespan of an American cockroach is approximately one year, but evidence suggests that these insects have been around for a very, very long time.
3. They can’t survive a nuclear explosion
Fortunately, the theory of cockroaches being able to survive a nuclear explosion is just a myth. Well, to some extent. The myth first appeared after the events in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 where cockroaches were the only survivors. However, the guys over at MythBusters put an end to this myth; by testing the effect 3 levels of radiation have on German cockroaches.
Fascinating facts about cockroaches
They discovered that cockroaches can’t actually survive a nuclear explosion as none of the crawling insects survived radiation levels of 100,000 rads (1). To sum up, cockroaches can’t survive a nuclear explosion but they can endure far greater levels of radiation than us humans.
4. Cockroaches can squeeze through the tiniest of gaps
Yep, just like rats and mice, these creepies can squeeze through the smallest of cracks! This is all down to their amazing exoskeletons. Roaches are able to fit through a gap as small as a quarter of their body height; by flattening their flexible exoskeletons and splaying their legs to the side.
5. Roaches can survive a week without a head
Yes, you did read that right. These pests can live for approximately one week without a head! The reason behind this is, that unlike us, they don’t need their mouths to breathe. Instead, they use spiracles (tiny hole) in their body to inhale and transport oxygen. Combine this with the ability to survive without food for a month; and you have an insect that can last without it’s head for a week!