For the sixth year running, the Bronx Zoo is offering die-hard romantics the chance to name a cockroach after their beloved for Valentine’s Day.
The promotion gets a ton of press every year, probably because people find cockroaches so revolting that the whole idea seems pretty hilarious. Last year, a Buzzfeed writer suggested that instead of using the naming scheme to honor their loved ones, they use it as a way to get back at their exes. The San Francisco Zoo had the same idea, and marketed Valentine’s Day cockroach and scorpion naming rights as a way to tarnish the memory of ex-lovers.
But really, the Bronx Zoo had the right idea to begin with. Having a cockroach — in this case, one of the thousands of Madagascar hissing cockroaches that reside at the zoo — named after you should be considered an honor, not an insult. Here are just a few reasons.
Cockroaches are survivors
Anyone who’s ever dealt with a cockroach infestation knows how resilient these little guys and gals are. But instead of viewing that trait with frustration and hate, think about how incredibly freaking impressive it is. They can hold their breath for five to seven minutes at a time, develop resistance to pesticides in scarily fast time, and can survive harsh radiation that would destroy puny humans.
Females are tough and independent
In the United States, the population of Surinam cockroaches (pictured above) is entirely female — and they reproduce asexually.
Under “severe conditions” when no males are available, the American cockroach can lay fertile eggs “with no male participation,” according to the University of Massachusetts. You go, girl.
We need cockroaches more than they need us
OK, so maybe you don’t feel like you “need” roaches in your kitchen. That’s fair. But cockroaches in general play an important role in the ecosystem.
“They eat decaying vegetation, decaying stuff, mostly,” entomologist Nancy Greig told The Houston Chronicle. “And if we didn’t have them — and the termites and dung beetles and decomposers — the world would be piled high in trash. They’re very important recyclers.”
And after cockroaches digest that food, they return it to the soil via the nitrogen in their feces, which is crucial to the health of plants. “Extinction of cockroaches would have a big impact on forest health and therefore indirectly on all the species that live there,” biology professor Srini Kambhampati told Live Science.
Plus, cockroaches are an important source of food for small mammals, which themselves are important food sources for larger mammals, Kambhampati said.
In other words, cockroaches are total badasses and valuable members of society. If your significant other lives up to that, you’re lucky.
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