how does a cockroach survive a nuclear detonation??


If they are close enough, they can’t. I think the whole thing behind ‘Only cockroaches would survive’ is that they would be better able to survive the long-term effects of a nuclear war, i.e. radiation. I think any aspect of a nuclear explosion that would kill a human immediately or nearly immediately would do the same thing to a roach - in fact, a human might survive a flash burn that caused third degree burns over a good portion of their body (for a while), while a roach exposed to it would almost certainly be burned to a crisp.

Has anyone actually tested insects like roaches to see if they are in fact more resistant to radiation than higher animals?

I think it’s just a general statement with no actual evidence to back it up. Roaches seem to thrive anywhere and can eat most anything. That and they have built tiny fallout shelters in your underwear drawer.

I don’t know about radiation, but I think roaches have a better chance of surviving a nuclear winter than any other animal on this planet.

I don’t think they would be best suited for surviving a nuclear winter. They are not particularly cold resistant. Penguins or any animal that lives in the cold now would probably survive a nuclear winter, or almost any oceanic animal.

Just curious OKAY??? But has anyone ever put a roach in a microwave? What happened? Did it splat or did it survive? I have never done this, but always heard that a roach would survive it. I just thought “here’s my chance to find out on SD.”


Surviving the cold of nuclear winter is only part of the challenge. The major difficulty would finding food. Roaches can live of the decaying plant and animal matter for quite some time.

Predators, in general, will not fair well. Scavengers will fair better. I doubt there would be a significant difference between sea and land animals. The bottom of the food chain is the same in both cases, photosynthetic organisms.

Clearly, bacteria and archae will be the real winners. Some of them don’t even need the sun to produce food and others can go dormant for thousands of years.

This site, which at least appears to be fairly legit, alleges that some cockroach species have a radiation lethality threshold about 100 times greater than humans:

Lethal doses:
Humans - 800 rems
American Cockroach - 67,500 rems
German Cockroach - 90,000-105,000 rems

10 minutes on high. Nothing happened. It lived for 2 more hours before I got fed up w/ the experiment and squashed it.

Note: I have never subjected any other animal to any form of cruelty. Nor would I. Roaches are a special case.

Sometimes i wonder if badtz-maru isn’t funning with us.

this seems highly impossible
u put a glass of h2o in the micro for even 30 seconds and see how hot it gets
put it for 2 mins and u most definately cant even touch it
now how on earth (or anywhere else) will a cockroach survive 10 mins in the micro on high
pmh try fooling somewhere else
maybe that cockroach was a toy or something

In a lab I used to work in we had a big plexiglass box with a lid where we’d temporarily store things like gloves and pipette tips that were contaminated with 32-P-labeled DNA and such as that. If you lifted the lid and held a Geiger counter over the box, it would go crazy. One day I found a huge roach crawling around in there, and I could see that it was actually going around licking the contents of the box, which was pretty full. I always assumed someone put the roach in there as a joke or an informal experiment, but no one would admit it. Anyway, after a couple of days it was dead, so it apparently wasn’t immune to radiation.

Roaches and other vermin might be able to survive better than people in a radioactive environment because they have a shorter generation time and can evolve faster, but I don’t know what makes them more resistant to radiation to begin with. In some places that have been contaminated by nuclear accidents some of the animals have evolved radiation resistance remarkably fast, but I don’t know what the mechanism is. As a guess, I’d say they might have increased production of antioxidants, improved their DNA repair mechanisms or slowed down the turnover rate of cells that normally multiply quickly.

Kyomara, most people wouldn’t get that. 8^) Actually, I wasn’t trying to be funny, just chose penguins because they were the second thing to pop into my mind (I thought polar bears first, but eliminated them because of the amount of food they need).

I just thought of a group of animals that would be pretty certain to survive a nuclear winter, even if all the oceans froze over - those critters that live near the volcanic vents underwater, that rely on chemicals release from the vents instead of photosynthesis.

Apparently, 16 miles up is just too much. :slight_smile: From this high-altitude ballooning site:

Of course, I’m not sure just what kind of “winter” he’s referring to roaches surviving; I think the temperature bottoms out at something like -65[sup]O[/sup]F, which is, ah, pretty extreme. Hard to guess whether the temperature or the thin air killed the buggers first.

I don’t think the roaches would actively do any of this. If any roaches survive, it will be the ones that already do this; all the others will be killed.

Of course, after a few generations, they will have grown to the size of a small German car . . .

I strongly recommend the anime ‘Twilight of the Cockroaches’. Beautiful film, and the end is relevant to the current conversation.

To the OP…
As was said, there’s probably no actual scientific evidence, except that…(1) there are a lot of cockroaches that are widespread and (2) they are more radiation resistant. But other than that, they’d still get fried if they were too close to ground zero.

Cecil answered this question!

Plus, remember that roaches are small, live inside walls and basements, etc., and would be more likely to survive the initial blast (i.e., they’re easily shielded by small bits of debris, and are less liekly to be killed by falling bricks, etc.). Remember that many people who were in their air raid shelters survived the Hiroshima and Nagasaki blasts.

And we all know that, if you’ve got even a couple of roaches left alive, you’ll soon be just as infested with them as you were before. Humans aren’t as prolific.

Are you sure your microwave worked?

In my first apartment, I had two firsts: my own microwave oven and cockroaches. One of the first things I did was nuke a couple of them, for both scientific research and to teach the others a lesson. Their abdomens bloated and eventually ruptured. They were quite dead after just a minute of microwaving.

[Making two notes. 1. AWB is a sick individual! 2. Don’t piss off AWB. :)]