Animal Poachery

Earthworm Cockroach Duck

Ξ Poem Cockroach Notes
© 1986..2009 by Andreas Wittenstein. Some rights reserved. (CC)

duskdawn: Most cockroach species, especially domestic ones, are nocturnal, active at night and asleep during the day. They emerge at dusk and disappear at dawn even in kitchens where the light is left on all day and night.

skulk-watch, cautious, steal, poach: Cockroaches are extremely shy and secretive, venturing into the open only when no potential predators are about.

cooks' scourge, kitchen crocks: Because domestic cockroaches feed on kitchen waste and sewage, and can pass through drainage traps, they can carry disease pathogens from sewage to countertops, dishes, and food.

uncaulked cracks: The German cockroach (Blattella germanica) typically lives and breeds in cracks and crevices in the kitchen and other living areas. Caulking is an effective preventive measure.

back-porch piers: The American cockroach (Periplaneta americana), too large to hide easily inside the house, often lives under back porches, in crawlspaces and attics, and elsewhere just outside the house, coming in to forage at night.

feelers: The curved whiplike antennae quivering from the head of a cockroach, though usually longer than its body, are composed of thousands of exceptionally short segments, making them incredibly flexible and agile. Bristling with sensory hairs and chemical receptors at every joint, they serve as exquisitely sensitive organs of touch and smell.

oft-coached: Both humans and cockroaches (including the so-called "German" and "American" species) are thought to have originated in Africa, and several species of domestic cockroaches have coevolved with humans for thousands of years.

cat-claw's scratch: With the notable exceptions of cats and geckos, humans unwittingly protect cockroaches from most of their natural predators, such as frogs, toads, shrews, lizards, and snakes, by locking them out of their houses.

kick-crunch heels: At a fiftieth of a second, the reaction time of a cockroach is around five times as fast as a human's, so getting stomped by a shoe, which is definitely the kind of experience a cockroach would scurry to avoid, is quite unlikely.

quick-rush: At the opposite end of the cockroach's body from its antennae are another pair of feelers, called cerci, that can detect the slightest sound or breeze - even the footsteps of other cockroaches. The cerci are wired directly to the legs, so that the cockroach reflexively turns away from potential trouble — unless the trouble is the inlet hose of a vacuum cleaner, which they'll often run straight into.

cake, chuckroast: Domestic cockroaches have evolved to thrive on the food waste of humans, and are satisfied with far less extravagant food than cake and chuckroast, whether fresh or stale, moldy, rotten, or even predigested.

crumbmeals: A cockroach can live on a single crumb of food for months. In fact, a cockroach can survive for months without so much as a crumb of food, but only for a few weeks without water.

For more information on cockroaches, see the Wikipedia Cockroach article.

For photographs and descriptions of a number of cockroach species for cockroach enthusiasts, see the Allpet Roaches site.

For answers to frequently asked questions about cockroaches, see Joseph Kunkel's Cockroach FAQ.

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