Nothing Says

Nothing Says

Michele Berger
Published: 02/06/2012

Madagascar hissing roaches (Photo: Liz West, Flickr Creative Commons)

The beloved—or hated, depending whom you ask—Valentine’s Day is just a week away. Still looking for that something special to give your Valentine? Maybe you’re trying to impress that darling you hope will be your love for good? Look no further than the Bronx Zoo, with its, um, unique gift any girl would treasure. Introducing roaches, two ways (one of them edible).

First, name one of the Bronx Zoo’s 58,000 Madagascar hissing roaches after your loved one. Yes, this is totally serious, and best of all, it’s just $10 per naming—a gift anyone can afford. Not sure what moniker-giving approach to take? Follow the zoo’s advice: “Don’t be afraid to get creative! Maybe you want to name the roach in honor of [your sweetheart’s] boss? Her least favorite teacher or talk show host? Or maybe your Valentine loves wildlife of all kinds and would consider a creepy-crawly namesake an honor.”


Photo: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS

Your honey will know you care by the e-card, beautifully decorated with roaches (shown at left), that he or she receives explaining your gift.

If one roach just doesn’t say “I Love You” like two does, add a Cocoa-Roach for a few extra bucks. These edible insects are actually pretty cool. (Check them out below.) For just $15 more, you get hand-painted chocolate roaches done by chocolatier Sabrina Berkowitz of The Chocolate Box NYC. It’s a spin on your typical heart-shaped box of treats for sure.

“For the Cocoa-Roaches, we’re basically just using a dark semi-sweet chocolate. It’s not too intense and it’s not too sweet,” Berkowitz says. “You take that chocolate, when it’s in liquid form and you pour it into the mold. You let them set, pop them out, finish off the edges, then you just paint it.” She uses paint made from edible cocoa butter. Yum.

“Though I am an animal lover,” she adds, “I don’t know if I would ever be a Madagascar hissing cockroach lover. No offense to the roaches of the world, but I think I’ll stick to the Cocoa-Roach.” As the zoo points out, these large roaches, which can reach four inches, aren’t actually considered pests and rarely make it into homes. They hiss as a defense mechanism.

If you’re not certain bugs are the best way to get to your Valentine’s heart, just remember that the money you spend goes directly to the Wildlife Conservation Society (of which the Bronx Zoo is a part, as are the New York Aquarium, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, and  Queens Zoo) to help species of all kinds. (And if you place your order by today, shipping is free.) As the WCS puts it, “With your support, we'll continue to do our work saving wildlife in the forests of Madagascar and throughout the world’s most majestic wild places.”

Last year, more than 5,700 hissing roaches were named—with creative stuff like Hissing Hottie, Cranky Frankie, Lisa Lovebug, and Hisssterical—raising almost $60,000 for WCS. What name would you pick to show your affection? Let us know in the comments below and on Facebook.


Chocolate Cocoa-Roaches for your sweetheart (Photo: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS)