The Cockroach & Amazing Facts

Did you know that the cockroach can live without its head for an entire week? The facts about this insect will amaze you.

Let's say a cockroach finds itself in a frigid climate where the temperature has plunged below freezing. What do you think it would do? Keep in mind that the mercury has dropped below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, 0 Celsius.

If you roll your eyes and answer, "Whatever," you're absolutely right. The cockroach would do whatever it needs to do to exist. If it were living near you, this tough, little insect would simply become your housemate. So you haven't bought groceries for about two weeks? No problem. The cockroach holds a black belt to the infinite degree in survival.

This six-legged critter can live without food for an entire month and hold its breath for forty minutes if necessary. Even if you cut off its head, it would still run around the house for about a week before dying of thirst because its brain is not in its head. It's scattered throughout its body.

You'll be wasting your time trying to figure out how this little ninja with more than eighteen knees broke into your house. Young ones can squeeze through a crevice no thicker than a tip of a dime, while the older and fatter ones may need access equivalent to the thickness of the edge of a quarter. It'll certainly wear you out trying to chase it. It can run up to three miles in a hour before calling it a day.

The cockroach world does not exist of dating or romantic warm-up rituals. The female mates only once and is pregnant for the rest of her life. Sounds heartbreaking? Think again. Her heart is nothing but a simple tube with valves that pump blood back and forth. The heart can even stop without causing harm to the insect.

Batman and Spiderman may have to sit on the curb with Superman with Master Cockroach around. A set of claws on its feet enables it to climb a wall as easily as it scoots across the kitchen counter. Its attennae, which rival NASA's Global Positioning System, help it locate family and friends with state-of-the-art precision. Its set of eyes, made up of 4,000 individual lenses, allows it to see simultaneously in all directions. Its rear end is equipped with a motion detector that lets it know which way to scat when its safety is jeopardized. And unlike other creatures, this insect sheds its skeleton, not its skin.

Ever wonder why the cockroach is so difficult to eliminate? You know that white gook that spurts out when it's stepped on or bitten into? That's more than stored fat. The cockroach turns valuable nutrients into an energy source which helps it neutralize or lessen life-threatening chemicals. And if it doesn't chew its food properly, that's okay. It has another set of teeth inside its digestive system that finishes the work.

There are nearly 4,000 known species of cockroach. Their existence dates back to more than 200 million years. Some of the more interesting ones include the Madeira cockroach of Portugal, which emits such a foul odor when threatened, one would think a huge beast had died. There was one discovered in South America that was six inches in length with a twelve-inch wing span.

So the next time someone calls you an insect, ask them to be a bit more specific. It's compliment to be called a cockroach. To learn more about the insect of all insects, look up "Arthropoda" in the Sixth Edition of Columbia Encyclopedia.

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