Do cockroaches ever eat each other? In other words, are roaches sometimes cannibalistic?
To survive and be as prolific as they are, cockroaches must be very opportunistic in regards to their food choices and will eat just about anything. They are omnivores, eating both plants and animals, and will in fact will eat any organic compound including paper, carpet, furniture, upholstery, etc. So, finding a suitable food source is not usually a big problem for the cockroach.
With regards to eating animals, including other roaches, a roaches instinct is to scavenge, not kill. Therefore, cockroaches will eat another roach they happen to come across that is already dead. But they will not aggressively attack and kill other cockroaches just to make a meal out of them. That is too much work for the cockroach and not his style.
Cockroaches consider one of their own kind nothing more than another food source. Obviously, roaches don’t wrestle with ethical choices when it comes to killing a cockroach. A roach will just opportunistically cannibalize one of its own if it is easy and practical to do so.
Although cannibalism sounds repulsive to us humans, we shouldn’t judge the cockroach too harshly for it. This trait is simply a survival mechanism which allows the cockroach to enjoy a widespread existence around the world and survive in harsh environments that would kill less hardy insects.