Cockroaches aren’t just a sign that you’re living in New York City. They can be a symbol of love — present or past, linked to happy memories or a bitter end — thanks to the Bronx Zoo Madagascar hissing cockroach promotion for Valentine’s Day.
With Valentine’s around the corner, the Bronx Zoo is once again letting lovers (or haters) symbolically name one of its more-than-50,000 Madagascar hissing cockroaches currently in its Madagascar exhibit.
These roaches can reach up to four inches long, making them the world’s largest roach species. They get their name from their characteristic hissing sound, made when they force air out of their “respiratory openings” on a segment of their body, and is often a defense mechanism.
This Valentine’s Day, the Bronx Zoo’s Name-a-Roach initiative also comes with the ability to upgrade your gift to include a roach beanie, mug and pin.
Julie Larsen Maher © WCS
“The Bronx Zoo’s Name-A-Roach promotion is a light-hearted, fun way to reach out to someone on Valentine’s Day to let them know that you are thinking about them,” said John F. Calvelli of the Wildlife Conservation Society in a statement. “Nothing lasts longer than a roach, so it could be sent as a symbolic gesture about how long your love will last or exactly the opposite.”
The Bronx Zoo has been offering the opportunity to name a Madagascar hissing cockroach for Valentine’s Day since 2011, and though past participants have dubbed roaches after an ex or mother-in-law (with presumably negative connotations), plenty of people have also named cockroaches after or inspired by loved ones.
“Thinking about the fact that there’s a lil hissing cockroach roaming around the Bronx Zoo named ‘Maximum Derek’ [a reference to NBC show “The Good Place”] and all because my boyfriend loves me,” one New Yorker shared on Twitter last year.
How to name a Bronx Zoo Madagascar hissing cockroach for Valentine’s Day
Anyone around the world can participate in the Name-a-Roach promotion, according to the Bronx Zoo, by placing an order online at BronxZoo.com/Roach.
For a $15 donation, your gift recipient will get a printed certificate featuring the name chosen for your Valentine’s Day roach. For $75, you can add in the Madagascar hissing cockroach beanie cap, mug and roach pin along with the certificate. For $55, you can choose various combinations of the “roachy merchandise” to create your perfect Valentine’s Day gift.
These donations will help fund the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Bronx Zoo, and they’re also an apt symbol for Valentine’s Day, according to Calvelli.
“Some might say that love is like a roach — elusive, resilient, and sometimes very scary,” he said.