This beats the pet lizard you had during middle school! A woman in China is gaining celebrity status in her home province after admitting to taking care of an estimated 100,000 cockroaches, which she keeps in her countryside home in Fujian province, the South China Morning Post reports.
A pharmacy worker, 37-year-old Yuan Meixia splits her time between working with life-saving medicines and tending to her cockroach pets at home. According to Meixia, she sees the cockroaches as her own children, even calling them her “babies.”
Meixia’s house was even constructed and designed to be cockroach-friendly. She keeps her cockroaches between plywood, where the insects are allowed to laze, breed, and lay eggs. There are no doors inside her house, only zippered silk nets to prevent the cockroaches from being crushed. Every crack, crevice, and hole inside the house has been sealed with cement to prevent the cockroaches from getting stuck or leaving the house.
During hotter weathers, Meixia sprays cold water on the walls to keep the cockroaches cool. On colder months, Meixian keeps a gas-powered stove inside the house to gently warm her “children.”
Meixia mostly owns Palmetto bugs, a large flying type of cockroach that can usually be seen in the United States. She claims that she has already spent thousands of dollars taking care of her precious pets. Meixia spent $1,600 alone buying 20 kilograms of cockroaches. In fact, she stays in another house in Siqian county and dedicates the countryside house to her cockroaches.
“I saw people raise this kind of cockroach in Anhui. They said it can be food and also can be medicine,” Yuan said. “So I took tens of thousands of yuan to learn [breeding them] for a week and spent more than 10,000 yuan [HK$12,600] to buy 20kg of live cockroaches.”
She told reporters who toured the house in Linbian village that the cockroaches have cancer-killing capabilities, although she cited no sources to back her claim.
When the cockroaches die, they will be dried and sent to a factory in Anhui province, where they will be turned into pharmaceutical products. Despite their unceremonious end, these cockroaches are treated like royalty during their short-lived lives. Meixia claims that she feeds the cockroaches rice bran, honeydews, and apples. She even prepares glucose for the little ones who still can’t digest the bigger food types. Meixia told the press that “like children, they need sufficient nutrition.”
Local health officers are allowing Meixia to keep the cockroaches but they warn that taking care of these cockroaches must be closely monitored.
[Image from nandu.com via South China Morning Post]