A Moment of Science

The World’s Largest Cockroach: Rhinoceros Cockroaches

Believe it or not, the Australian burrowing cockroach, also known as the rhinoceros cockroach, is one of Australia's most popular pets.

A huge cockroach sits on a log.

Photo: Bill Hails (Flickr)

The largest cockroach in the world is the Australian giant burrowing cockroach, also known as rhinoceros cockroaches and litter bugs.

The Australian burrowing cockroach can grow up to three and half inches long, and they weigh about the same as a parakeet. These insects are becoming popular pets both inside and outside of Australia.

Recycling Roaches

They’re not garbage scavengers; they eat dry Eucalyptus leaves. In doing so, they serve an important function in Australian ecology; they recycle nutrients from the dry Eucalyptus leaves back into the earth.

Though wingless and slow moving, they can live for up to ten years. And unlike the cockroaches you’re used to, these creatures bear live young.

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