Giant cockroach

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A giant cockroach, a, is a type of monster that appears in EvilHack and Hack'EM. It is a carnivorous and oviparous insect that can hide under objects and cling to the ceiling.

A giant cockroach has a poisonous bite that weakens constitution similar to a rabid rat, and possesses poison resistance and sickness resistance - in Hack'EM, they are also vulnerable to acid.

The giant cockroach is one of many hallucinatory monsters whose names may appear while hallucinating in NetHack, and is still retained as such in variants of NetHack, even if it appears normally in that variant.


Giant cockroaches are not randomly generated, and normally-created giant cockroaches are always hostile.

Giant cockroaches are generated on levels with raw sewage at level creation, most of which are within the Gnomish Mines.

The swampy lair inhabited by a random first-tier demon lord will contain at least three giant cockroaches on level creation.


In EvilHack, sixteen giant cockroaches are generated within the Rat King's dwelling in Mines' End at level creation, with four placed at specific locations and the rest spread randomly across the map.


In addition to the above, kicking a toilet in Hack'EM has a high chance of generating several giant cockroaches along with spilling sewage from the toilet.


Giant cockroaches are small and fast at 16 speed, and can prove an unwelcome surprise for players that have yet to obtain enough poison resistance - in particular, they represent another of the Gnomish Mines' many perils. Fortunately, they are generally frail and can be easily killed by a player with a reliable weapon; extrinsic sources of poison resistance will still come in handy if you can find one, and 35% intrinsic poison resistance (or 25% in Hack'EM) is enough to avoid an instadeath from poison.


The giant cockroach first appears in EvilHack 0.4.1, and is present in Hack'EM from the first version.


Giant cockroaches (family Blaberidae) are the second-largest cockroach family by number of species, and the only one known to lay eggs. They are mostly found in caves, rotting logs or buried under leaf litter, and many species are often kept as pets or as feeder insects. Among this family of insects are some of the largest cockroaches in the world, including Blaberus gigantus, better known as the Central American giant cave cockroach (or Brazilian cockroach), and the Australian giant burrowing cockroach. Giant versions of existing or fantastic insects are also a common form of creature in fantasy and science fiction media.

The encyclopedia entry comes from archy and mehitabel, a series of humorous verses and short stories that appeared in The Evening Sun newspaper. Created in 1916 by Don Marquis for his daily column, "The Sun Dial", the series focuses satiric commentary of daily life in the city during the 1910s and 1920s, using the perspectives of the titular characters: Archy, a cockroach, and Mehitabel, an alley cat and his best friend. Archy lives in a newspaper office, and had been a free verse poet in a previous life - when everyone had left for the night, Archy would climb up onto the typewriter and hurl himself at the keys, laboriously typing out stories of the daily challenges and travails of a cockroach. He could not operate the Shift key due to his size, producing a distinctive writing style with no capitalization or punctuation.

Encyclopedia entry

i do not see why men
should be so proud
insects have the more
ancient lineage
according to the scientists
insects were insects
when man was only
a burbling whatsit

[ archy and mehitabel, by Don Marquis ]