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Yes, Virginia, cockroach legs do grow back.

Many people have asked us if the cockroach legs we cut off and use for our experiments grow back on the respective owners. That and “the cockroach leg is still alive when removed from the body?” are the two most common questions we get, from 5 year olds up to 80 year olds.

After a cockroach donates 1-2 of its legs to science, he/she retired to the shady acres retirement home, where it spends the rest of its cockroach life living in dirt, making babies, and eating organic lettuce and carrots. When cleaning the terrarium, we often check to see if any of the legs have grown back.
Look what we discovered! The cockroach below went through two molts after his right rear leg was cut off. He just recently molted and we saw a little leg!The other leg (left rear) was cut in between the first and second molt.So, Yes, Virginia, they do grow back. Just takes two molts for the growing leg to appear. This cockroach is fine; he is back in his house eating lettuce.


  1. But – that dosen’t seem equitable really. What good is that wee leg to an old roach?

    Comment by ben — 2012-May-27 @ 10:08

  2. No matter how you feel about them, cockroaches are something special. Cut a few legs off a nymph, and they grow back. Leave a few cookie crumbs in the carpet, and the critters seem to instantly zero in on them. Expose them to fecal material, bacteria and other pathogens, homemade antibiotics will keep them healthy. On top of it all, they can eat just about anything, live in brutal conditions and laugh in the face of the toughest insecticides.

    Comment by Fantasys — 2019-Mar-22 @ 12:01

  3. Ever see the movie “Joe’s Apartment?” It’s about how cockroaches have survived the dinosaurs, nuclear blasts and evolution because they are the perfect creature. It’s also a comedy and quite finny too.

    Comment by Donna Turner — 2019-Apr-08 @ 11:38

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