Cockroaches are incredibly resilient creatures because of the dynamics of their bodies. In addition, the high running speed and cockroach flying capabilities help them escape from an imminent threat.
The fastest recorded roach is 3.5 miles an hour. However, the roach can run at a speed of 2 to 3 miles an hour, depending upon the species. Long and narrow legs relative to body size are consistent with high speeds (Reference). Therefore, Small roaches usually have low speed, whereas the American cockroach is the fastest, with an incredible 2.98 miles an hour.
Nature never stops fascinating us. Interestingly some insects like dragonflies can outrun humans; they have an incredible speed of up to 35 miles an hour. On the other hand, the slug is as slow as 0.18 miles an hour.
I had a particular interest in studying insect speeds and therefore have written this article to compare the running speed of different roaches and the dynamics involved.
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How do Roaches Manage to Run Fast?
Cockroaches do not have an endoskeleton; instead, a smooth exoskeleton supports their bodies. Moreover, they have an oval aerodynamic body that keeps air drag minimum.
At slow speeds, the cockroach runs through an alternating tripod stepping pattern. Contrary to this, the cockroach switches to quadrupedal and bipedal running at high speeds, adding further to the aerodynamics (Reference).
These features make roaches a high-speed insects.
Running Speed of Different Roaches
A cockroach with long and narrow legs relative to body size will be faster than the one with short and thick legs. Therefore, it is not necessary that smaller or bigger cockroaches will be fast.
Some of the biggest cockroaches, like the Giant Burrowing Cockroaches, are very slow, whereas the American cockroach belonging to the family of giant roaches is the fastest.
|Cockroach Species||Speed in Miles/hour|
|Brown Banded Cockroach||2.4|
|Giant Burrowing Cockroach||0.8|
Can you outrun a Cockroach?
Cockroaches are swift insects with speeds up to 3 miles an hour. But this does mean that they are faster than humans. An average adult human has a walking speed of 4 miles an hour, far more than a cockroach. Moreover, an average adult runs at the speed of 8 to 10 miles an hour, far greater than roaches.
The reason is the relative size of cockroaches and human limbs. Cockroaches move their limbs far more rapidly than humans, but because the displacement of the human limbs is far greater, we outrun roaches.
Therefore, Yes! You can outrun a cockroach.