Do Cockroaches Jump or Can They?

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about how roaches get around, including ‟can cockroaches jump” and if so, ‟how do cockroaches jump?”

Can roaches jump?

Cockroaches might look like they are jumping, but they aren’t. With the exception of Saltoblattella montistabularis, more commonly known as the ‟leaproach,” cockroaches cannot jump. What they can do is use their wings to flip their bodies out of danger, if the need arises. This might resemble a jump, but only some species of cockroaches can do this. In fact, even though most species of roaches have wings, very few of them can actually fly.

How do roaches jump?

When humans, animals or insects jump, it involves using the legs to propel the body in any given direction. Cockroach legs do not allow for this type of action (with one exception – see below). Instead, a cockroach can fling its body into the air by using its wings to propel itself out of harm’s way. It cannot do this with any real measure of accuracy, success or distance.

What is the leaproach?

The one cockroach that can jump is called the leaproach. Discovered in 2009, this jumping cockroach was previously thought to have only existed during the Late Jurassic period. Unlike other roaches, leaproaches have highly modified legs, which allows them to propel their bodies up and forward, much like a grasshopper. It is able to leap 50 lengths of its body thanks to these powerful hind legs. In fact, the legs make up 20 percent of the leaproach’s body weight. The leaproach also has special fixation points for its antennae, which help to stabilize the insect as it shoots through the air, and bulging, hemispherical eyes that assist during landing. Luckily, the only place this jumping cockroach has been found is in the Silvermine Nature Reserve, part of Table Mountain National Park in South Africa.

Now that you know what some species can do – roaches ‟jump” with their wings, so they can’t really jump onto you, just away from you – call Terminix® and get rid of cockroaches today.