The movie “Wall-E” depicts the earth’s surface after a nuclear war. One of the few survivors is a roach. Although cockroaches cannot survive a nuclear blast in their immediate environment, they can survive nuclear blasts in far greater distances. The amount of radiation they are exposed to during an explosion will depend on the size of the blast and how far they are from ground zero.
The cell cycles of cockroaches are simple and slow. Their metabolism makes them highly resistant to radiation. Cockroaches eat the decaying bodies of humans and animals. This makes modern societies a haven for cockroaches. However, a nuclear war between the United States and Russia would plunge the world into a “nuclear winter,” where most plant and animal life would die.
Nuclear explosions create a zone of destruction, which varies depending on the type of material in the bomb. A one-megaton atomic warhead produces a maximum radiation zone of one mile. This means that any living beings within one mile will be completely vaporized. If the blast extends farther, the resulting damage will be even worse. Cockroaches, however, would not survive a nuclear blast of up to 1.2 miles. This means that they will not survive the radiation or the heat. They would also be shattered, which would make it impossible to survive.
Another myth is that cockroaches can survive a nuclear blast. While this isn’t true, it’s still interesting to consider because cockroaches are cold-blooded creatures. The ability of cockroaches to survive in the absence of oxygen and food will be crucial. Additionally, cockroaches are also highly resilient in other ways, like being able to survive in water for 30 minutes without water.