Eight-year-old girl keeps THOUSANDS of breeding cockroaches as pets

By admin
27 February 2015

Shelby Counterman is an avid collector of thousands of breeding cockroaches.

At first sight, Shelby Counterman is a typical eight-year old girl. Her pink hairband and doll house suggest she likes all things pretty. But the word ‘typical’ may not be the best way to describe Shelby. The girl, from Oklahoma, USA, is an avid collector of cockroaches. Her collection boasts of hissing bugs from all over the world, including Madagascar and India. She calls them her pets. According to her mother, Meg Counterman, Shelby grew the obsession with the bugs when she was 18 months old. She admits it was creepy at first -- roaches are after all, one of the most detested pests. Nevertheless, she allowed the unusual interest to foster.

'It's hard not to let her follow her interests'

“I couldn't say no. It's hard not to let her follow her interests," she told WFMYNews2.com. "A very wise friend told me a long time ago, that you can't instil your own fears and prejudices into your children. And you have to let them follow what they're interested in.”

When Shelby was three, she started collecting when she was three years old after a neighbour gave her his collection.

"MrGibbs gave me some but they were only boys. So I went to Safari Joe's and told them about my problem that I didn't have babies. So they gave me some more boys and girls and then I started to breed,” she told NewsOn6.com.

Shelby’s pets do not have free reign of the Counterman household though. She keeps them in “special plastic containers and aquariums lined with Vaseline”, reports the Daily Mail. Apparently this helps keep the bugs from roaches roaming the house.

As a backup plan, the family also keeps a bearded dragon lizard named Toothless in case any roaches escape. The Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches are, as the name suggests, native to the Island of Madascar. They have a lifespan of 1-3 years. Hissing is their trademark. This sound is made by forcing air through small holes in their bodies. They do not fly or bite. However, they’re known to reproduce. A pair could produce as many as 60 nymph roaches.

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Sources: dailymail.co.uk, huffingtonpost.com, newson6.com, animals.nationalgeographic.com

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