Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Pet Cockroaches

Looking for an unusual exotic pet? Why not get a pet Madagascar giant hissing cockroach, Gromphadorhina portentosa? Unlike most cockroaches, this one is bedecked with the finest Austrian Swarovski crystals, it has a leash to prevent it from running amok and, as an added bonus, this species is rather talkative, too.

My question, what do you do about all those little black turds on your white lapel??

Thanks, Dawn!


  1. #1 Khalil A. Cassimally
    March 26, 2006

    From a scientific point of view: aren’t cockroaches vectors for certain diseases?

  2. #2 GrrlScientist
    March 26, 2006

    yes, indeed. they spread at least 32 bacterial diseases, 17 fungal-related diseases, 3 protozoans and 2 viruses. and my apartment, like most in NYC, is infested with them, too.

  3. #3 Tabor
    March 26, 2006


  4. #4 GrrlScientist
    March 26, 2006

    i agree. and none of my cockroach houseguests are studded with jewels, so they have no redeeming value at all, not even as saleable items (or in my case, pawnable items).

  5. #5 GrrlScientist
    March 26, 2006

    oh, i forgot to mention that cockroaches are suspected of carrying/transmitting SARS, too. no real proof yet, but lots of strong circumstantial evidence exists.

  6. #6 Katie
    March 27, 2006

    Hmmm. The cockroach thing is sort of neat in its own way, but I think I will pass and stick to cats.

  7. #7 david tiley
    March 27, 2006

    You stick jewels on kittens and tie them to your lapel?

    I haven’t seen the cockroach adornments, but I have seen stick insects decked out with costume jewellery, and I imagine they could look pretty amazing with electronics.

    A huge gaudy insect roaming around on your front is so compelling you don’t look for the turds. But it does set me wondering about cruelty.

  8. #8 Eanoiulh
    September 19, 2007

    Comeon, these cockroaches are so misunderstood. They’re among the majority of cockroach species not associated with human dwellings, which is where household cockroaches pick up all those nasty viruses and bacteria.
    If they’re found in the wild or born and bred in a breeding facility, they’re actually quite sterile. Best of all, they don’t bite, feeding solely on vegetable matter and are actually quite docile.

  9. #9 Keith Carter
    September 22, 2007

    Why didn’t GrrlScientist set the facts straight about the depicted species(as Eanoiulh did a few days ago, Sep 19,’07)?

  10. #10 sydney
    March 23, 2008

    okay, for the record madagascar hissing cockroaches are pretty clean.
    I have a few pet cockroaches (none studded w/ jewels)
    They are just about as clean and safe as your dog. These aren’t the roaches that you find in your apartment and your not likely to get sick from them, but I don’t think you should lick them or anything like that.

  11. #11 mike
    September 6, 2008

    roaches this size are one of the reasons that I keep a gun in my house. I see that on my wall, I’m skipping the raid and going for the .45

  12. #12 Gisele
    November 15, 2008

    Oh my goodness! You are scientists and you don’t know how to get rid of cockroaches!!!

    Fair warning, this is like chicken soup for colds that scientists thought was an old wife’s tale until they tested it and it worked. So test this because it has worked for centuries even though it isn’t a pesticide and a scientist didn’t discover it or make it.

    First block off large entrances like holes around water pipes. I used duct tape although one is supposed to use steel wool.

    Go ask the pharmacist for boric acid. take a tiny amount, say a quarter teaspoon, mix it with the same amount of sugar and about a quarter cup of water. Put it in small containers like the cap of a jar and place them all around the areas you see cockroaches. Keep replacing the water as it evaporates.

    For a few weeks you will see many more cockroaches but don’t worry you haven’t got more they are just drying out so getting more and more desperate so they even come out in the day. You will find corpses all over the place. ewwww, but hey, better than seeing them scurrying around.

    Then get some food grade Diatomaceous Earth. Put a very fine dust of it around the perimeter of your appartment. If cockroaches crawl over it they will soon die which will prevent reinvestation.

    Voila, a cockroach free NY appartment!

  13. #13 Hudson
    January 6, 2009

    OK! FIRST OFF! These bugs are increidble! I own somewhere around 40-60 of these insects. I think putting jewels and chaining them is ABSOLUTELY cruel and unacceptable. They are not meant to be shown off, and they deserve respect. From a scientific viewpoint, these technically ARE cockroaches; however, they do not transmit any disease related to humans.

    Also people, what happened to discussing these bugs and not annihilating pests?!? THEY ARE NOT PESTS! They are an extremely important part of the ecosystem! Maybe not in your fishtanks at home, but in the wild in Madagascar, they act as detritavores and eat away dead and decaying plant and animal matter. They do not hurt humans in any way. They don’t bite, and theyre the easiest pets to take care of.

    Please people, show some respect for some amazing bugs that cant harm us, they more than help us.

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