natureNaturenaturecreepy crawlies

Whatever Message You’re Sending This Valentine’s Day, Say It With Cockroaches

Roaches are red, violets are blue…


Maddy Chapman


Maddy Chapman

Copy Editor and Staff Writer

Maddy is a Copy Editor and Staff Writer at IFLScience, with a degree in biochemistry from the University of York.

Copy Editor and Staff Writer

A cockroach approaching red paper hearts to signify the trend of zoos allowing you to name a cockroach after your ex

You can be as (un)roachmantic as you like. Image credit: New Africa/ 

This article first appeared in Issue 7 of our free digital magazine CURIOUS

There’s nothing like a cockroach to say “I love you”. And, come to think of it, nothing says “I hate you” quite like a cockroach either. Whatever message you’re trying to send this Valentine’s Day, these versatile insects have you covered.


Those in search of the perfect gift for a special someone need look no further than the Bronx Zoo. For the bargain price of $15, you can name a Madagascar hissing cockroach after your beloved. And they say romance is dead.

“You don’t always have the right words, but you can still give them goosebumps,” the Bronx Zoo explains. “Name a Roach for your Valentine, because roaches are forever.”

It seems Shirley Bassey was way off the mark. Why buy diamonds when you can buy Dictyoptera? 

Revenge is a dish best served cold, and preferably to a meerkat. 

For a more vengeful Valentine’s, a similar scheme at El Paso Zoo in Texas offers the opportunity to get one up on an ex – by naming a roach after them and watching as it’s fed to meerkats (as well as other insectivores including iguana and skink).


Revenge is a dish best served cold, and preferably to a meerkat, which the appropriately named “Quit Bugging Me” event knows all too well. Lehigh Valley Zoo in Pennsylvania offers a similar "Bug Off" event, where this time you can name a cricket after your ex for just $5 and watch it being fed to the Zoo's ambassador animals. San Antonio Zoo in Texas has stepped it up a gear including both frozen rats and vegetables (for the vegans) for feeding. 

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However, if you prefer not to trust your hopes of romance or revenge to a cockroach, perhaps you should consider looking elsewhere in the animal kingdom: it’s absolutely jam-packed full of bizarre mating rituals. You could create an arty masterpiece, like the Japanese puffer fish, or take a leaf from birds’ books and practice your dance moves. If that fails, or you’re feeling unforgiving, there’s always the approach of the female praying mantis, who is known to bite the heads off her lovers.

We think we’ll stick to the roaches, though. They were on this planet millions of years before humans, and they'll likely get the last laugh too.

CURIOUS is a new digital magazine from IFLScience featuring interviews, experts, deep dives, fun facts, news, book excerpts, and much more. Issue 7 is OUT NOW.


natureNaturenaturecreepy crawlies
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