Cockroaches are some of the creepiest crawlies in the insect kingdom, but these cockroach facts prove there’s more to these pests than mere yuckiness. Read on to learn 8 of the most amazing true animal facts about cockroaches, and prepare to be astonished by these incredibly resilient creatures, and their truly unique qualities. These facts were collected from Discovery Kids, and Totally Buggin .
1. An average cockroach has 6 legs, but can have more than 18 knees. These multiple leg joints help them scale a variety of terrain, and move quickly to avoid capture and danger.
2. A cockroach can live for an entire week…without its head! After being beheaded, the way a cockroach’s system functions, the animal could actually survive indefinitely, except for one problem. Without a head, it has no mouth through which to drink water, so it eventually dies of thirst. However, all of its other systems can function fully, even when it is entirely headless.
3. A cockroach can hold its breath for up to forty minutes. This is one of the qualities that has helped these small creatures survive on earth through massive environmental shifts and climate changes over what scientists estimate as the more than 280 million years since roaches originated.
4. Cockroaches have two sets of wings. One is a thick, leathery outer set, which a cockroach can fold over its body for protection. It’s this set that you see when you look at a cockroach sitting on a table, or scampering across a wall. The wings that a cockroach actually uses to fly are a pair of thin, membranous wings that it tucks underneath the outer wings when not in use.
5. Cockroaches are often spotted when scampering across an apartment floor, but these tiny critters spend up to three quarters of their lives just resting. This makes them some of nature’s laziest couch potatoes.
6. When cockroaches do decide to shake a leg (or 6), they can run up to 3 miles in an hour. While that hardly means a cockroach would beat a cheetah in a land race, it’s a pretty impressive speed for such a lazy creature.
7. Cockroaches are omnivores who can eat almost anything, thanks in part to the powerful jaws hidden away in their mouth organs. Equally impressive is the fact that they only need to eat once a month in order to stay alive.
8. One reason why cockroaches are so hard to exterminate from a human abode like an apartment is that they can hide extremely easily in small spaces. An adult male cockroach can hide in a crevice that’s merely the thickness of a quarter, and the thickest kind of cockroach, a pregnant adult female, needs just 4.5mm of space, or about the depth of two stacked nickels, in order to sneak into a crack.