If you’ve ever wondered what sort of creepy crawlies are living amongst the undergrowth of the rainforest, then take a look at this impressive specimen. Far North Queensland is home to the world’s biggest cockroach.
It may not be Australia’s greatest tourism drawcard but the Giant Burrowing Cockroach, also known as the Rhinoceros Cockroach, is only found here in our tropical rainforests.
But before you all screw up your noses and cry “yuk”, this particular species of cockroach is actually considered a fantastic pet.
It’s not the kind of cockroach you find scurrying around your home looking for food scraps. This big beautiful bug lives in tropical rainforests and eats only dry and decaying leaves. Thanks to this constant recycling it plays an important role in the rainforest ecosystem.
And because it doesn’t climb or fly and is quite happy to live in a fish tank filled with soil and leaves, it is a very easy pet to own.
[headline size=”small” align=”left”]so what does it look like?[/headline]
First of all, the Giant Burrowing Cockroach isn’t really a true bug – it is an insect.
In fact, while it is the world’s largest and heaviest cockroach, it might also be the heaviest insect in the world too. And believe it or not it is incredibly clean, contrary to a cockroach’s normal reputation. It attracts tiny mites that often live on its back to keep it clean.
This particular species of cockroach is bigger and quite different in appearance to the normal household cockroach.
The Great Burrowing Cockroach is brown, has a shiny, smooth exterior and a broad and heavy body. It can grow up to 7.5 centimetres long and can weigh up to 35g.
Surprisingly it can live for up to 10 years which is almost unheard of for insects. Especially considering the common German cockroach only lives for up to a year.
And unlike the household cockroach, the Giant Burrowing Cockroach doesn’t have wings so it can’t fly.
Throughout its lifetime, this cockroach sheds its outer non-flexible, hardened shell anywhere between 10 to 12 times before it is fully grown.
[headline size=”small” align=”left”]breeding and babies[/headline]
Giant Burrowing Cockroaches give birth to live young and can have up to 30 babies at one time.
The female cockroach takes care of their babies in their underground burrow, which can be up to a metre deep down in the soil.
During the day the cockroaches come to the surface to forage for food and then take their dry leaves back down to their burrow.
[headline size=”small” align=”left”]cockroach spotting[/headline]
You can only find these giant cockroaches in Australia, mainly in North Queensland and also in Western New South Wales.
And because they are known as forest floor foragers, you are most likely to come across them in the rainforest.
But you can also get a good look at these fascinating creatures at the Daintree Entomological Museum.
Okay most of the butterflies and bugs here in the museum are dead and preserved, but they are carefully labelled and displayed in glass cases.
And it’s a fascinating place to visit, even if you’re not usually a bug lover!