Valentine’s Day: Why Not Name a Roach?


By Karina Rivera

When you think of Valentine’s Day, what comes to mind? Roses, chocolates, a dinner for two? The Bronx Zoo has another option: naming a roach in honor of your loved one.

Dozens of people came out to name a Madagascar Cockroach on the 2017 annual Name a Roach event on Valentine’s Day.

“I think it’s different,” said Ashley Gomez, 25, a first time attendee. “Yes, I like the flowers and going out to eat, but as nasty as it might sound, how many people can say they have a roach named on their behalf, not many people so in a way, I think it is thoughtful.”

The Bronx Zoo has held the Name a Roach event since 2011. For a fee of $10, you are able to name a roach and the person it is named after receives a certificate of verification via email.

“I came last year with my boyfriend and thought at first, ‘Why are we at the zoo on Valentine’s Day, the most romantic day of the year?’” said Jasmine Pena, 35, who has been attending for two years now. “Sure enough, we walk over to all these bugs and he told me we are here to name a roach after you. I felt insulted at first but after reading up on how unique these creatures are, I figured, ‘Hey I am unique to so why not name a roach after me? Let’s go for it and do it again this year.’”

For at least one participant, the event was not about love, but revenge. Nancy Lopez, 28, could not wait to meet the bugs.

“My ex-boyfriend and I broke up about three years ago,” said Lopez. “When I heard about this event I thought what a perfect opportunity for me to get a little bit of satisfaction and some sort of revenge. We ended on bad terms so I figured hey why not, let’s have some fun with this.”

The $10 fee for the event is donated to the Wildlife Conservation Society to continue its work on preserving species and the environment for wildlife.

“I like that the proceeds go to a good cause,” said Jose Ramirez, 36. “While I am having fun with my girlfriend at this one-of-a-kind event, I also get to support a group that I am very passionate about. On a day like today, I get the best of both worlds. Definitely looking forward to coming back next year.”

So, if you are having a hard time thinking of what to get your loved one next year, mark it down on your calendar. The Name a Roach event returns in February of 2018.

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