Cockroaches are famous for being difficult to kill, it’s been a popular “old wives tale” over the last century that cockroaches are so hardy, that they can survive a nuclear explosion. But is there really any truth behind this claim? Let’s dig into things and find out.
Cockroaches have been crawling around for 200 million years, way back when the dinosaurs were still around! They survived what ever it was that wiped out the dinosaurs, so it’s understandable why they have such a high reputation for durability. Cockroaches have an amazing exoskeleton, it’s made up of series of stretchy membranes that allows an equal amount of distribution of pressure to be applied to the cockroaches body, which allows itself to withstand forces close to 1000 times it’s body’s weight! They’re also able to survive in an array of different climates, temperatures, and terrains. They’re very agile, able to fly, swim, and squeeze into the smallest of crevices.
But are they really durable enough to survive a nuclear explosion? Science says no to surviving the explosion, the heat from the explosion would easily kill the cockroaches. However there’s another version of the story focusing solely on the radiational aftermath; so what about that? This proves more promising for cockroaches. The Discovery channel held an experiment testing this very idea, it was discovered that cockroaches are able to survive for long periods of time while being exposed to radiation levels that are compared to those given off by nuclear weapons during World War 2. So while cockroaches wouldn’t be able to directly survive a nuclear explosion, they would be able to live in a nuclear environment.