One Man’s Dog is Another Man’s Hissing Cockroach

Occasionally I actually do some research for one of my humor columns to make sure that I am being factually accurate about something as scientifically complex as the half life of the average dog gas.

Such was the case recently when I was working on an animal column which, incidentally, was not about canine flautlence, and I stumbled upon one of those online, ask-any-question types of sites. As I scrolled down the page, I saw that there were some other questions unrelated to mine, listed under the heading of “Open Questions – Pets.”

That was when something caught my eye.

The question was: “Does anyone know if you have to have a special permit to own a hissing cockroach in Illinois?”


The official answer, in case you were curious, is “No.”

But the real answer is “EWWWWW!”

I say again.


I happened to have lived many years in a slightly cockroach-inhabited apartment in New York City and while the roaches were not of the hissing variety, they were plenty gross. If one were to add “hissing” into the mix, I surely would have run screaming back to my parents’ house in the suburbs, forthwith. To think that someone would actually want to bring some hissing cockroaches into their home in Illinois, willingly and with intent to own, not only completely baffles me, it makes me question the sanity of the entire population of Illinois.

Of course, I have a brother who willingly moved to a house in Malibu that is frequented by scorpions, tarantulas and rattlesnakes . But to the best of my knowledge, he was an unwilling participant in these visits.

In my house, we have a dog, a lizard, a chinchilla, a couple of fish, and several children. Although some of them do some nasty things on the rug occasionally, none of them hiss or hide in my utensil drawers and scatter when the lights come on. None of them hail from Madagascar, breed 300 offspring every 60 days, or will survive an atomic winter and repopulate the earth.

None of them is a hissing cockroach, but ONE of them, (lizard) would actually eat a hissing cockroach.

Good to know if we ever move to Madagascar…
or Illinois.

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3 responses to “One Man’s Dog is Another Man’s Hissing Cockroach

  1. Just typing “hissing cockroach” makes me queasy!

    I’ll never forget the steamy August evening a cicada got into our dorm room (in Missouri) – I can still picture the comical scene of my roommate & I perched on our beds screeching almost as loudly as that winged beast!


  2. I’m gald to see you call a roach a roach. I’m a transplanted Yankie, living in North Carolina, and down here in the South, they are so polite, they call them Palomento bugs. I always tell my southern friends, a roach is a roach no matter how you try to sugar coat it!!!!!