Cockroaches mysteriously found in school

BEING more than 5,000 miles from home, today mystery surrounds how two Madagascan hissing cockroaches appeared in a Suffolk school sports hall.

BEING more than 5,000 miles from home, today mystery surrounds how two Madagascan hissing cockroaches appeared in a Suffolk school sports hall.

The top theory is the creatures had arrived via Felixstowe Port but this fell down after it was revealed the insects cannot fly - and it would have been a long crawl across town to the school.

Now it is believed they may have been put in the hall on the Orwell High School campus by a mischief-maker after being bought from a pet shop.

The two cockroaches - which make a frightening hissing noise which can be heard 12 feet away - were discovered in the sports hall by a student.

Head teacher Peter Tomkins said the cockroaches had been found on Monday and pest control experts had been called in.

The hall is to be fumigated as there is a training day at the school and there will be no pupils using it.

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“There were just two cockroaches and we believe they must have been put there by someone.

“They could have been bought from a pet shop because apparently people do keep Madagascan cockroaches and other insects as pets.

“We let the hall out in the evenings as well as it being used by our own students during the day and so really anybody could have left them there.”

Mr Tomkins said a thorough inspection had been made of the hall and no other insects had been found.

A Suffolk Coastal District Council spokesman said: “We were not notified by the school nor was there any reason why they should have done as there are no real health and safety issues in this instance that would need our involvement.

“We have, however, now spoken to the school, and understand that they have brought in an outside pest control team to resolve the problem.

“Our understanding is that there are no health issues at all with Madagascan cockroaches.”


Do you keep Madagascan cockroaches as pets? Do you know how they arrived in the school? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

FastFacts: Madagascan cockroaches

Cockroaches are almost indestructible. Some can survive freezing for two days, go without food for three months, or live through a dose of radiation 100 times that which would kill a human.

The cockroaches come from the island of Madagascar, off the east coast of Africa.

They are herbivores which live in the leaf litter of the rainforest floor, eating rotting fruits and fungi.

Hissing cockroaches do not have wings and their flattened shape lets them move easily among the leaves.

They can grow to a length of about 9cm. They are covered in a hard outer casing, which has a waterproof layer.

To get air into their bodies they have a system of tubes. When alarmed, the cockroach rapidly squeezes air out of the opening of the abdomen, making a hissing sound.

Source: Bristol Zoo

There are around 3,500 species of cockraoch

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