Cockroach racing can be called one of the oldest gambling entertainment of people. Documentary mentions of them date back to the era of Ancient Egypt and the Roman Empire. Players place bets on the outcome of the competition, and the emotions of the spectators can be compared to those that occur on the racetrack during the races.
There are over 7, 500 species of cockroaches in nature, but not all of them are capable of taking part in the race. The best sprinters are Madagascar hissing cockroaches. They got their name for their ability to make sounds similar to the hiss of a snake. The body length of adult cockroaches can reach 10 centimeters and weigh 70 grams. Despite the fact that Madagascar cockroaches take part in the races in many countries of the world, it is impossible to meet them in the wild outside of their native island.
Only their relatives from Colombia can compete with cockroaches from the island of Madagascar. They are slightly smaller in size, but also very playful. But the cockroaches that live in Europe are not suitable for "big sport". It's all about their small size and low speed qualities. Serious results in major competitions should not be expected from them.
Turkey is currently called the trendsetter in cockroach racing, where the largest farms for growing champion cockroaches are located. This gambling entertainment is very popular in the country. Not much inferior to Turkey and Australia. There is even an interesting holiday in this country - Cockroach Race Day.
Cockroach competitions are held as follows: insects are placed in special grooves, on one side of which a bright light is turned on, which cockroaches are very afraid of. Intuitively, they race to the dark side of the treadmill. The winner is the one who first crossed the finish line. The length of the distance is usually 1.5 meters. This is one of the advantages of cockroach racing: no expensive facilities are needed.
In the XVIII-XIX centuries. cockroach racing was very popular in the Russian Empire. Of course, cockroaches were not brought from Madagascar, homegrown athletes participated in the competition. Gamblers often made large bets on the winners of the races. Even many members of the nobility kept cockroaches capable of showing high results. It is believed that the expression "cockroaches in the head" appeared thanks to the cockroach race, as they say about a person who is too keen on competitions and unable to think about anything else.
In the middle of the last century, one of the largest owners of running cockroach farms was the Kurd Shahin Fesah, who simultaneously kept up to half a million insects. For his addiction to the gambling business, he had big problems with the law. By the way, even today, animal rights activists are actively advocating the prohibition of cockroach racing.
Many are probably interested in the question: what speed are the fastest cockroaches capable of developing? It turns out up to 4 kilometers per hour. But, not always the fastest cockroach necessarily wins the race. Some members can show their character. For example, stop in the middle of the distance, or even run back. The owners of the cockroach are allowed to urge him on by shouting, whistling, and shining a flashlight on him. But, it is strictly forbidden to touch the insect during the race.
The rules for holding cockroach races in Australia differ significantly from the generally accepted ones, here cockroaches do not run along a groove, but inside a large circle. Participants start from its center, and the one who first crosses the outer border of the circle wins. Australia even has its own "Hall of Fame", the most famous winners of the cockroach race get the right to be represented in it.
The life of an athlete's cockroach is subject to a tough regime: regular exercise and proper nutrition. They are kept in glass or plastic containers, and the main diet consists of vegetables, fruits and herbs. And before the competition, the participants are put on a starvation diet for several days so that they become more active. In captivity, cockroaches are able to live up to 5 years, in natural conditions much less. The males take part in the races.
And the females are hatching future champions. Cockroach larvae are white and very soft. At about the age of six months, cockroaches reach the size of adult relatives and begin to be attracted to competitions. The owners carefully study their behavior, conduct training with them. And, of course, they give their pets nicknames.
Description of the cockroach race can often be found in the works of the classics of literature. They were mentioned by Alexey Tolstoy, Mikhail Bulgakov, Arkady Averchenko. Competitions were also held in modern Russia. Now, on the basis of this ancient and popular game, many computer games have been created.