From humans to small creatures such as roaches, every living organism is designed to defend itself from a threat. It can take several forms like attacking back, injecting poison, or even playing a drama to divert attention. This is why you may sometimes see insects, including roaches playing dead.
Yes! Cockroaches play dead when they feel threatened. Once the threat has subsided or gone, the cockroaches start to move or run away. This is a common survival phenomenon that many living organisms adapt to save themselves from being killed.
Other reason for cockroaches playing dead include poisoning from an insecticide spray that render them immobile for a few minutes or when they are in shock from extreme heat or impulsive force like a blow.
Have you ever wondered why a cockroach lying on the back a few minutes ago on the floor suddenly disappeared? Do cockroaches play dead, or was it something else like the gush of wind that moved it away, or was it maybe eaten by your dog? Answers to all these queries will be given in the blog below.
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How do roaches play Dead?
Roaches have a very simple nervous system equipped with a small brain. Unlike humans, roaches do not have advanced brain functions and lack emotions. However, like all other creatures, they are equipped with basic survival instincts.
Roaches playing dead is an evolutionary trait to deceive a predator. However, roaches do not play dead by intelligently dramatizing the whole situation. Instead, the brain of cockroaches under extreme stress falls into a state of shock that has a generalized effect on the mobility of cockroaches (Reference).
This is like a state of coma in which cockroaches have lost the capability to move for some time. However, after some time (varying from a few minutes to days depending upon the shock), the brain gains its function back, and the cockroach runs away.
Cockroaches Play Dead for Survival
The state of the coma and the spinal shock are two different conditions in which the body ceases the nonessential voluntary motor functions. This provides a time buffer for the brain or spinal cord to recover from the injury by rendering the body immobile to prevent further injury.
The same is the case with roaches though it is not like a typical state of coma. Instead, if the cockroach is disturbed, it has still got the ability to move.
Once the cockroaches suffer a severe form of injury inform of intense heat, cold, a force, or chemical insecticide, the brain of cockroaches moves into a state of paralysis or motor atonia.
All this is done to buy time for the body and brain to recover from the shock. So although We see this action as cockroaches are playing dead, this is not done for a drama.
Can Cockroaches come back to life?
It is essential to know that cockroaches are resilient creatures with excellent regeneration properties. For example, a cockroach can live without its head for several days, regenerate lost limbs during molting, and survive without oxygen for a few hours.
However, any living organism, including roaches, cannot come back to life once declared dead. Although we have often seen insects, including cockroaches coming back to life after death, this is not actually the case.
In reality, we do not have killed cockroaches properly, and they are in a state of shock and playing dead. Therefore, they usually start to move or run away after some time, giving a false impression that they have come back to life from death.
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How to know if a cockroach is playing dead?
It’s important to know if a cockroach is dead for sure or is just fooling us around. This will help us exterminate roaches effectively and will prevent future infestation.
It is pretty simple to know if a cockroach is playing dead. All you need to do is to touch it with a long stick. Once you touch the cockroach, it will start to move or run away instantaneously if it’s playing dead.
However, sometimes the cockroach is playing dead but is in shock, so it will not run away. Instead, the cockroach will have brisk twitchy movements of the limbs.
Does killing a cockroach attract More? Read this interesting article to get your answers.
How do cockroaches die?
Cockroaches have an average life of 2 years after hatching from eggs. Most cockroaches, however, do not live for two years.
Instead, most cockroaches die before reaching their old age for any of of the following reasons,
- Eaten by predators like cats, birds, rats etc.
- Killed by a enviromental catstrophe like extreme temprature or cold.
- lack of food and water.
- Killed by humans using insecticide spary or other roach killing product.
Cockroaches that successfully reach their old age die of multiorgan failure, just like other living organisms.