Some time ago, a woman in China's Fujian province opened the door to her countryside house to several dozen homeless cockroaches that she paid about $12,600 (€9,305) for.
The homeless cockroaches thrived under this kind woman's watch, and soon enough, the woman found herself looking after about 100,000 such critters that seem to very much enjoy her company and the conditions in her home.
37-year-old woman Yuan Meixia, whose photo is available below, claims she is very attached to the cockroaches, and that she sees them as her offspring. “These are all my children, my babies,” she says.
According to South China Morning Post, the woman does not live with the roaches. On the contrary, her actual home is nearby, in the country's Siqian county. However, she visits them on a daily basis, feeds them and makes sure they have everything they might need.
To prove just how much she cares about her little bundles of joy, the woman explains that, during the summer, she sprinkles water on the house's walls, looking to make sure that the intense heat will not upset her little ones.
On the other hand, when outdoor temperatures fall to a considerable extent, she turns on a gas-fired stove. This helps keep the critters' multiple feet all nice and cosy and frostbite-free, media reports say.
The only problem is that, by the looks of it, Yuan Meixia is not as dedicated a mother to these 100,000 cockroaches as she would have people believe. On the contrary, she occasionally catches many of them and sells them to a pharmaceutical company.
Before selling them, the woman kills them by drowning and then dries them. Once lifeless, the bugs are used to make various medicine believed to have anti-cancer properties. “Dried Palmetto bugs can act as anti-cancer drugs,” the woman told the press in a recent interview.
Since the bugs are a source of income for this 37-year-old woman in China, the home inside which she keeps them is sealed shut with cement and has zippered silk bets instead of doors. This means that the bugs are pretty much trapped and forced to remain there forever.
Most of the bugs the woman keeps inside her country home are Palmetto bugs. Wildlife researchers say the species is quite common in the United States and prefers to populate damp environments. The bugs chiefly feed on sweets and starch, and can produce dozens of offspring every time they spawn.
The woman maintains that the roaches she keeps in her home are not a threat to anybody. However, specialists say that, should they escape, they might spread viruses, possibly even destroy natural ecosystems in the area.