Roommates, Roaches, and Armadillos

Here's an unusual urban legend that I haven't heard before. It involves a group of students at Texas A&M University who are sharing a house together. It's in the genre of 'roommate horror stories'. According to the story, one of the students is an entomology major and keeps a collection of giant Africanized cockroaches in a terrarium. But during a party the terrarium breaks and the roaches escape, only to start breeding like crazy in the house. To solve this roach problem the students set loose some baby armadillos (since armadillos eat roaches). But soon the armadillos start breeding, without making much of a dent in the roach population, until eventually the house is full of a lot of roaches and a lot of armadillos. At this point the roommates decide to get some shotguns and shoot all the roaches and armadillos, but only succeed in busting up the house. And to make a long story short, the armadillos eventually start tunneling beneath the house, creating a sink hole that causes the entire building to collapse and fall into the ground. So in other words, the animals win in the end. The students are left with a bill for $25,000 in damages, courtesy of the landlord.

Animals Folklore/Tall Tales Urban Legends

Posted on Wed Mar 09, 2005


This is similar to the ending of the Simpsons episode 'Bart the Mother' when Springfield is overrun by pigeons. Barts Bolivian Tree Lizards ecape, breed and eat all the pigeons. Lisa worries then that the town is now overrun by lizards:-

But isn't that a bit short-sighted? What happens when we're overrun by lizards?

No problem. We simply unleash wave after wave of Chinese needle snakes. They'll wipe out the lizards.

But aren't the snakes even worse?

Yes, but we're prepared for that. We've lined up a fabulous type of gorilla that thrives on snake meat.

But then we're stuck with gorillas!

No, that's the beautiful part. When wintertime rolls around, the gorillas simply freeze to death.
Posted by Doctor Psi  on  Wed Mar 09, 2005  at  05:58 AM
Well regardless if it is real you can pretty much skip the entire story and read..."they shot the house up...and now they owe money".

Though I'll give them points for originality.

By the way, what eats armadillos? (Other than highway traffic)
Posted by Gentropy  on  Wed Mar 09, 2005  at  06:32 AM
I'm not sure if this story is supposed to show the resourcefulness or stupidity of Texas college students. So they know that armadillos eat roaches (I didn't know this, and there is a HUGE armadillo population in my area), and they know that guns kill armadillos. BUT, if the bug-major knew about his roach species, he would know the rate at which it would multiply, & would know how quickly it would get out of hand. He would also know he should alert someone b/c of possibly introducing a foreign species into the area. If bugboy had been smart he'd have told his landlord, "We've got bugs!" and the landlord would just have sent out an exterminator to take care of the problem.

Nice warning about how NOT to go about your own pest control, doesn't seem likely that it's real.
Posted by Maegan  on  Wed Mar 09, 2005  at  06:54 AM
Sound's like a lot more than $25 grand worth of damage. Removing the debris from the property could cost as much as half of that, if it were a decent sized house.
Posted by JoeSixpack  on  Wed Mar 09, 2005  at  07:07 AM
Isn't *shooting* cockroaches a bit overkill? I mean, roaches get big, but how big does an insect get where it gets to the point that a BULLET is necessary to dispatch it?

Also, I have never heard of "giant Africanized roaches". Madagascarian hissing cockroaches, maybe, but not THAT. And you could just step on them.
Posted by Laser Potato, with an eggbeater. OF EVIL!  on  Wed Mar 09, 2005  at  08:31 AM
Okay, lets see... did a little looking. From what I can tell, roaches breed about every month, and produce about 25 "babies". Armadillos reach sexual maturity in about a year, and have 4 "arma-babies". Gestation is about 4 months. So...
One mature roach will produce (theoretically) 6 trillion roaches, if the environment is all hunky-dory, the first year. The first two armadillos (have to have two to breed, right?) had better be friggin hungry, they have got 6 trillion roaches to eat before they get help. If all the babies are male, and fertilized by the father (I don't know if armadillos mate for life etc, and don't care, I'm just playin), then at the start of the second year, there should be 5 pregnant dillos. At the end of the first year, there should be 22 armadillos. They'd better be hungry, because by then the roaches will be so totally out of control, the numbers are too big for my calculator (maybe I should go get my graphing calc, it's got a huge readout). Of course, this doesn't exclude the population control, but seriously, how many roaches could two armadillos put an end to in the first year?

Totally unworkable, and by the time you end up with 22 armadillos, you'll be so busy fending off people who swerve into your yard to try and hit them and also fending off PETA (hey, since when did anybody have to do something wrong to offend THEM?)that you wouldn't even have time to clean up the crap of 22 armadillos. Just imagine the carpet cleaning bill!

And I hear they hog the remote.
Posted by Rod  on  Wed Mar 09, 2005  at  09:21 AM
Which PETA? People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or People for the Eating of Tasty Animals? I agree both would be a problem, but in different ways....
Posted by Silentz  on  Wed Mar 09, 2005  at  09:40 AM
Both were funny, and I couldn't decide, that's why I didn't specify.

I DO think it would be funny to have both groups standing on the sidewalk in front of the house at the same time, though.

Wouldn't THAT confuse the neighbors. Even more than the extra loud crawling sound they keep "thinking" they hear at night.

"Hey Margaret, do you hear that?"
"For Christ's sake, Bob, give it up. I keep telling you I can't hear...." (Voice trails off as roaches carry her out to use a a sacrifice to try and appease the "Ringy Gods".
Posted by Rod  on  Wed Mar 09, 2005  at  09:59 AM
They could alter their dietary habits:
Posted by Chadds Ford Prefect  on  Wed Mar 09, 2005  at  11:56 AM
I know what eats armadillos gentropy. I have a dog that eats them.
Posted by Dany  on  Wed Mar 09, 2005  at  02:38 PM
It probably started as a joke about the stupid of the Texas A&M University students, there has for a long time been the firing back and forth of jokes beteen the Aggies of A&M and the Longhorns of University of TExas
Posted by Tim  on  Wed Mar 09, 2005  at  04:56 PM
I've heard of Africanized bees, a mix of Arfircan and the European honey bee breeds, started down in Brazil in a lab. They got out due to an accident. But Africanized cockroaches? Never heard of anyone trying to mix African roaches of any type with any other type. Other than that, this all sounds like some morality story about not introducing foriegn fauna. Another Simpson example is the episode where Bart runs up a collect call to Australia andhas to go Down Under to apologize, taking his pet frog which promtly escapes.
Posted by Christopher Cole  on  Wed Mar 09, 2005  at  05:09 PM
Sounds suspiciously like it's based on the story of Thomas Austin of Winchelsea,Victoria and his 24 rabbits. Think Australia and myxamatosis. Isn't Austin in Texas...?oooh spooky serendipity!
Posted by Alistair  on  Wed Mar 09, 2005  at  05:34 PM
This wasn't part of A&M folklore through the late '80s. (I went there.) It is dang near impossible to be real:
1. They built an armadillo-proof house? They are extremely adept at digging, even through hard-pan. Unless the house was built out of cinder blocks, they could dig out.
2. What did the 6 zillion roaches eat during this time? No inhabitable house could support feeding this quantity.
3. Armadillos ALWAYS have 4 identical quadruplets. A daddy 'dillo and a mommy 'dillo could make 4 little girl 'dillos. So now a biologist would have to entertain the (disgusting) idea of an incestuous male with a very small gene line...since those four little girl 'dillos are identical twins, mind you. I'm thinking idiot 'dillos would rule the house over time. (No aggie jokes on that thought, please.)
Posted by Bill  on  Wed Apr 06, 2005  at  02:28 PM
that was really nice to read that.. that was really great post.. it seem great information.. that 's great information . i like that...
Posted by Pest Control Delhi  on  Wed Apr 14, 2010  at  05:03 PM
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