Updated: March 30, 2023

Cockroaches are one of the most reviled pests on the planet. They are known to carry diseases, cause allergies, and infest homes and buildings. However, there is more to these creepy crawlers than meets the eye. Did you know that cockroaches have a crunchy secret?

The Secret Ingredient

The secret ingredient in cockroaches is chitin. Chitin is a tough, protective polysaccharide that makes up the exoskeletons of arthropods such as insects, crustaceans, and arachnids. It is also found in the cell walls of fungi and some algae.

Chitin is what gives cockroaches their crunch. When you step on a cockroach or crush it with a tissue, you can hear the distinctive crunching sound of its exoskeleton breaking.

The Benefits of Chitin

Chitin has many benefits for cockroaches. It provides a protective barrier against predators and environmental stressors such as dehydration. It also allows cockroaches to maintain their shape and form, which is important for movement and survival.

Chitin also has potential benefits for humans. It has been used in medicine for wound healing and as a scaffold for tissue regeneration. Chitosan, a derivative of chitin, has antimicrobial properties and has been used in food preservation and as a dietary supplement.

Cockroach Crunchiness

The crunchiness of cockroaches is due to their exoskeletons being made up of layers of chitin and protein. When pressure is applied to the exoskeleton, the layers break apart and produce the characteristic crunching sound.

Interestingly, not all parts of the cockroach are equally crunchy. The legs and wings are less crunchy than the body due to differences in their chitin content.

Why Do People Eat Cockroaches?

While most people find the idea of eating cockroaches repulsive, there are some cultures where they are considered a delicacy. In China, roasted cockroaches are a popular snack, while in Thailand, fried cockroaches are often served as street food.

Cockroaches are high in protein and other nutrients, and they are also low in fat. However, there are risks associated with eating cockroaches, including the potential for disease transmission and the presence of harmful chemicals such as pesticides.


The crunchiness of cockroaches may be a fascinating aspect of their biology, but it is important to remember that they are still pests that can cause harm to humans. While some people may choose to eat them, it is generally not recommended due to the risks involved.

If you have a cockroach infestation in your home or business, it is important to take action to eliminate them. This may involve hiring a professional pest control company or using DIY methods such as traps and baits.


Q: Are cockroaches dangerous?

A: Yes, cockroaches can carry diseases and allergens that can be harmful to humans.

Q: Can you get sick from eating cockroaches?

A: Yes, there is a risk of disease transmission when eating cockroaches. Additionally, there may be harmful chemicals present in the insects due to their exposure to pesticides.

Q: Why do some people eat cockroaches?

A: Cockroaches are high in protein and other nutrients, and they are also low in fat. In some cultures, they are considered a delicacy. However, there are risks associated with eating them.