how long can cockroaches live
Cockroaches are among the world’s most reviled pests, with few creatures inspiring such disgust and fear as these spiny-backed insects. But while they might seem rather unappealing, these hardy little critters are actually quite fascinating. Cockroaches feature in stories and traditions throughout history across almost every culture. These small insects have been credited with bringing about pestilence, disease and even famine! However, the truth is much more wholesome than these fictional accounts suggest. Even though cockroaches may not be everyone’s cup of tea, there are some pretty interesting facts that you might not know about these squishy little critters…
Their spiny backs are actually their own hair
Most bugs don’t have hair, so why do roaches look like they do? The answer is that they actually don’t. The spines covering the backs of cockroaches are called setae, and they’re actually part of the exoskeleton that all bugs have. Cockroaches use their setae to sense their surroundings, and if you’ve ever crushed a roach, you’ll have noticed that their spiny backs also leave a very bitter, stinging sensation. Like other bugs, roaches can urinate through their exoskeletons, but they also have another, more unusual way of getting rid of waste.
They can run really fast
Cockroaches have featured in many fictional accounts as being somewhat clumsily slow-moving. In reality, they are actually some of the fastest bugs on the planet! Cockroaches use their spiny, clawed legs for a lot, including walking, climbing and even fighting. They can also use them to propel themselves along very quickly, with some species able to move at a speed of up to 18 kilometres per hour. Most species of roaches are nocturnal – meaning they are most active at night – and they often run to get away from humans, as well as other animals, when they are spotted.
They’re very resilient to most things humans throw at them
Humans are pretty lucky in the fact that, in general, we don’t have to worry about being eaten. Roaches, on the other hand, have to keep their eyes peeled for all manner of predators. Cockroaches are actually on the menu for around 33 different types of animals, including humans. This resilience to predators is part of what makes them such successful pests. Other roach facts that demonstrate their resilience? They can survive without food for two weeks and without water for two months. These are pretty impressive survival skills that help them to thrive in all kinds of environments, even in the face of human attempts to eradicate them.
Cockroaches can breathe through their bottoms
No one really wants to think about it, but roaches actually have a pretty interesting respiratory system. Cockroaches have what’s known as a “tubular internal network” that runs through their bodies. This network of tubes is connected to small holes on their abdomens, called spiracles. Humans, on the other hand, have nostrils that sit on the sides of our heads. This is why you won’t ever find people sticking their heads in the ground to breathe – it just doesn’t work that way!
They have an uncanny sense of smell and hearing
Cockroaches are also fairly sensitive to smell. They can smell food from far away, and they can also smell other roaches – which serves as a territorial marker. They can also smell the presence of predators, so they can scurry away before they get caught. Cockroaches are also very sensitive to vibrations in the ground. This is how they can sense the presence of food, and it’s also how they know when to run away from humans. Cockroaches also have very sensitive hearing. You might think they can’t hear you, but they are actually very good at listening out for the vibrations in the air caused by footfall. This is how they know when to scurry away from humans.
The world’s heaviest cockroach is a whopping 2.5 pounds!
Cockroaches are actually pretty light for the size of their bodies. On average, a cockroach will weigh about 7 to 10 grams. Cockroaches aren’t actually that big. The heaviest roach in the world is the Australian giant burrowing cockroach, which can grow to a whopping 2.5 pounds. That’s heavier than a puppy! For something so little, that’s pretty impressive.
Cockroaches are fascinating creatures, and while they can be pretty gross, it’s important to remember that they actually do a lot of good for the environment. Cockroaches eat decaying plants and decaying matter, and they also eat other insects. This makes them very useful for pest control. However, this doesn’t mean you should welcome them into your home. Cockroaches are pests, and if you find you have an infestation, you should call a pest control professional as soon as possible.
how long can cockroaches live