Our guests often recognize our Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches as celebrities from the television reality show “Fear Factor.” Unfortunately, the insects’ fame involves them being eaten. Have you ever considered eating a cockroach? Well, put down your fork.
Recently a story was going around from the Science Interpretation staff that eating raw cockroaches causes the tongue to go numb. This fact seemed possible but it was a new one to the Animal Care staff. We are quite aware of the tongue-numbness caused by banana slugs and sea anemone. In fact, we personally know people who have tested this theory. But we'd never heard such a thing about Hissing Cockroaches. Were they being “badmouthed”?
Life Sciences Manager, Sarah Moore, wanted to verify the claim WITHOUT putting it to the taste test herself. Having zero interest in a numb mouth, she instead asked the expert, David George Gordon, author, lecturer, and Bug Chef Extraordinaire.
Mr. Gordon agreed with Sarah’s assumption that somehow slug lore became conflated with cockroach lore. Furthermore, he shared this important advice:
I DO know for sure that eating raw cockroaches can invite parasitic worms inside— the ones that can cause blindness in birds and mammals. So I certainly wouldn’t recommend eating raw roaches — nor would I lick a cockroach or a slug, for that matter.
Good advice from a Bug Chef: Don’t eat raw cockroaches!