Nine Days?

“A cockroach can live for nine days without its head.”


I was sitting on the pot reading the Wildlife magazine from the Houston Zoo and this quote caught my eye.

I wondered what the heck were those cockroaches doing for those 9 days without a head?

I had always assumed that they spent most of their time looking for food. But if they don’t have a head, then how are they going to eat? So, do they still spend all their time looking for food? Is that really what they did before they lost their heads?

I wonder it they don’t have a head, how do they find their way around? I mean, they have eyes and antennas on their head for that, but once the heads gone then what do they do? Do they just lie there like they’re dead (but they’re not dead) for 9 days?

Or do they wander around trying to find out what happened to their head? Do they miss it? I guess they must not miss it all that much if they can go without it for 9 days.

I wonder is this some kind of survival trait? They don’t go around looking for food while they’re headless, they go around looking for sex? How would that work?

I mean really, they’ve been around FOREVER.

Maybe having a head isn’t as important as we’ve been led to believe?

I wonder just how many headless cockroaches are running around? I have to admit I’ve seen a lot of cockroaches in my life and have yet to see a headless one, dead or alive.

I wonder, did they do some kind of study on this? Did they just happen to find a headless cockroach running around and say, “Hey, I think we need to investigate this, how long can a headless cockroach survive?”.

Did they just find a bunch of headless roaches to study? Or did they actually pull the heads off enough roaches to make a valid study? Just how many headless cockroaches does it take to prove the statistic that they can survive for 9 days? Is just one enough?

How many died immediately? How many only lasted 1 day? 2 days? etc?

They didn’t mention how long a cockroach could live with a head. I have to assume it’s quite a bit longer than 9 days.

Oh well, just a few thoughts to start the day. 😉


PS- I got curious enough later to actually google it and yes, it’s true. They explain a lot of my questions in this article.



7 thoughts on “Nine Days?

    • Good point Ron! I read the article after I wrote the post and it says they can actually live for weeks (headless). I guess with their lifespan, that would make them comparable to those brainless assholes in congress who can go their entire careers without one.


      • I am feeling sort of headless tonight. Besides I don’t know how to put on a life jacket, so when the oceans start rising, I will have to flee inland.


      • Oh noooooo.

        I can teach you how to put on a life jacket “properly”. I’ve actually been certified by the USCG to teach all these classes since 2010. 🙂

        If the oceans rise, we’d probably be better off getting boats. Something like that movie “Waterworld” ( think that was the name of it).


      • That was filmed in Kauai. During the production hurricane Iniki hit and made a big mess of things. There is still a large hotel in ruins near Kapaa from that storm. I mentioned the life jacket because of your posts on the safety classes.

        One of these days I would like to go down to the coast and get a guided photographers tour. You might even get a free meal out of it.


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