Do cockroaches eat corpses?

Answered by Phillip Nicastro

Cockroaches, being omnivores, have the ability to consume a wide range of food sources, including both plants and meat. While they are not typically associated with feeding on corpses, there have been recorded instances where cockroaches have been found to eat human flesh, both from the living and the dead. However, it is important to note that such occurrences are relatively rare and not a common behavior exhibited by cockroaches.

When it comes to consuming human flesh, cockroaches are more likely to target certain body parts such as fingernails, eyelashes, feet, and hands. These areas of the body may provide easy access for the cockroaches to scavenge and feed on dead skin cells or other organic matter present.

It is crucial to understand that the consumption of human flesh by cockroaches is more of an opportunistic behavior rather than a deliberate choice. Cockroaches are known to be attracted to decaying organic material, and in some cases, they may come across human remains that are in an advanced stage of decomposition. In such situations, the cockroaches might scavenge and feed on the decomposed flesh as a source of nutrients.

However, it is essential to highlight that cockroaches are not the primary decomposers of corpses. They are typically secondary scavengers that feed on already decomposed organic matter. Primary decomposers, such as insects like blowflies and beetles, play a more significant role in breaking down corpses.

It is worth noting that the presence of cockroaches near corpses can be influenced by various factors, such as the environment, availability of food sources, and the stage of decomposition of the body. Cockroaches are attracted to the strong odors emitted by decomposing organic matter, which may include human remains. However, their role in the decomposition process is relatively limited compared to other organisms.

While cockroaches have been recorded to consume human flesh, it is not a common behavior exhibited by them. They are more likely to scavenge on dead skin cells or other organic matter found on or near the body, rather than actively seeking out corpses. Primary decomposers, such as blowflies and beetles, play a more significant role in the breakdown of corpses.