Bronx, NY

You Can Name a Cockroach After Your Ex for Valentine’s Day at BronxZoo (and at a Few Others Zoos Too)

New York Culture
Alexas_Fotos via Pixabay

Do you have an ex that made your life Hell in the past? Was there a former manager who was horrible to you? We all know people who mistreated us in the past and negatively affected our mental health at some point. If you’re not a spiteful individual, you can close this page and keep being the awesome not-caring-about-buttholes queen — or king — that you are. But in the event you’re a petty person, you may want to learn about this option.

I first heard about the Bronx Zoo offering to name a cockroach after your former boss or an ex-partner via Tik-Tok. I since learned about other zoos running this fundraising campaign as a yearly tradition around Valentine’s Day. It’s a charitable event that allows you to not only have fun and be extra bitter about February 14th but also donate money to a good cause.

Let’s see what the campaign is about, how it works and who’s participating.

Disclaimer: This article contains links to zoos in the United States and the UK, but the author isn’t sponsored or affiliated with them.

Second disclaimer: If you chose to click the links, those include graphic pictures/videos of the coaches, so please consider that if you’re scared of insects.

“Name a Roach” Campaign: Bronx Zoo, 2011

Upon going through dozens and dozens of online materials, I concluded that most of them reference the original “Name a Roach” campaign conducted by the Bronx Zoo in Bronx, New York, in 2011. They have been running this event for over 10 years now.

For a modest price of $15, you can name a Madagascar hissing cockroach, a rodent or a veggie after your not-so-loved one, and the Bronx Zoo will feed it to an animal. They will also send you a digital certificate showing your ex’s name next to a coach, hence solidifying the lunch selection for one of their animals. They have different tiers available, including a live chat with a zookeeper, a surprise guest appearance, and some zoo swag. I don’t think I would want to wear a hat with a cockroach on it though.

Here’s what the certificate would look like, along with Bronx Zoo’s description of the $15 price tier:

Whoever manages the marketing team at Bronx Zoo certainly knows how to do their job. And they have an excellent sense of humour too. Check out the tweet they posted regarding this campaign:
BronxZoo via

What are Other Zoos Offering This?

While the Bronx Zoo is the one who most likely started this tradition in 2011 and runs it every year, a few other zoos took a page from their playbook. The ones I could find are:

  1. San Antonio Zoo created a “Cry Me a Coachroach” campaign. The prices are slightly different: feeding a veggie would cost only $5, while a cockroach is $10, and the rodent is $25. I would assume they allocated those prices according to sizes. Either way, it’s cheaper compared to the tiers Bronx Zoo offers. And they also promise to send you a video of feeding the roach to the animal.
  2. Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo has a “Name a Cockroach” fundraiser. They also ask for $15.
  3. Another zoo outside of the USA took notice too. Hemsley Conservation Centre at Sevenoaks, UK, launched a similar campaign: “Name a Cockroach This Valentine’s.” They are asking for the most modest donation of all: £1.50, which is about $2 USD.

I couldn’t find any other zoos involved in this, but it’s possible more of them would participate. I naively hoped that my local Toronto Zoo in Toronto, Canada is funny enough to do this. Sadly, the only Valentine’s Day offer they have is to “adopt” flamingoes for $100 CAD ($75 USD). You do get a plush flamingo toy, though, so now I’m considering it.

My Thoughts and Conclusion

Listen, it’s for a good cause. I’m not encouraging anyone to participate in this, but it’s clearly a charity event. According to the zoos, the proceeds will go towards caring for the animals. Maybe you are anti-zoo, so I don’t see why you should participate. Zoos have been struggling during the pandemic.

My local zoo is known for exploring their workers and not paying them a living wage, plus encouraging young students to volunteer so they can cut the labour expenses. I once adopted a white lion for $25, but I know many folks refuse to support zoos.

This is hilarious and cute. If you’ve been wronged and hurt recently, naming a roach and watching an animal devour it might bring you closure. I don’t have exes I hate, but I recently had a pretty bad employer. Maybe I’ll decide that spending $15 is worth it.

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