16 reasons why giant madagascar hissing cockroaches (Gromphadorhina portentosa) make good pets

one of mine1. They do not bite you, scratch you, or leave dead mice on your pillow. Nor do they confuse your leg with a sexual partner.

2. Their slow, indeed downright torpid movement can induce a zenlike state in the observer.

3. They tend not to possess the universal cockroach baggage: harmful bacteria, viruses, or worms.

4. They don’t wrack up expensive veterinarian bills.

5. Even if you did step in their poo, it would not produce the “ick” factor that stepping into the poo of (for example) a Canis familiaris would.

6. They don’t mind the absence of food in their terrarium. Go away for a month, and they just alter their metabolism accordingly.

7. They are among the few insects that communicate with a breath-powered voice, like birds and mammals.

8. Tape record a male hissing, replay it for a female, and watch her body palpitate with excitement.

9. They don’t wake you up in the middle of the night because they need to be let outside.

10. They don’t stick their muzzles into something nasty and then lick you.

11. They possess symbiotic mites that frolic like ballet dancers around their exoskeletons.

12. Those exoskeletons bear a close resemblance to polished mahogany.

13. Unlike certain pets, they’re not stuck in a state of perpetual childhood. Instead, they pass from egg to instar to adult without a backward glance.

14. They’ll eat anything you eat and, in addition, they’ll eat their own molts.

15. They don’t hiss at the neighbors.

16. They’re more or less unchanged in 365 million years. As the cockroach archy (of archy and mehitabel fame) said to the reader: “after all we were around when you were only a whatsis.”

One thought on “16 reasons why giant madagascar hissing cockroaches (Gromphadorhina portentosa) make good pets

  1. Thanks for the new blog posting.

    I’ve always considered small land tortoises the perfect pet, and for many of the same reasons you list for the hissing cockroach. My parents let me take mine along on a camping trip we made around Lake Superior in 1966 and it was good company and completely happy being placed in a patch of sweet grass or clover to graze once a day or so. I’m not sure my mother would have put up with a cockroach, although she sometimes surprised me with her acceptance of things strange. She didn’t mind the tree frog I had while living in Florida (that ended up crawling into an electrical outlet and getting fried), but the stinging caterpillars that stayed on the castor bean plant near the back porch weren’t welcome for long once she’d brushed against them with a bare arm. Your Gromphadorhina portentosa is all too similar in looks to the “palmetto bugs” that invaded our house at night, which were never tolerated. Each to his/her own, though.

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