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Is It an Internet Hoax or Is That Story Real?

By Chris Williams on May 9, 2016.

Look Out for Roach Eggs When Licking Envelopes!

Did that headline grab you and get you to read further? If so, you’ve just fallen victim to another really tall tale. Internet urban legends like the one below have a life of their own, circulating for years as they are forwarded to entire mailing lists. Many of these Internet hoaxes are about insects and other creepy crawlies because…well, just because we love to hate them and we like to be scared.

This is text from an email that has been circulating on the Internet since the year 2000:

If you lick your envelopes…You won’t anymore! 

This lady was working in a post office in California, one day she licked the envelopes and postage stamps instead of using a sponge. 

That very day the lady cut her tongue on the envelope. A week later, she noticed an abnormal swelling of her tongue. She went to the doctor, and they found nothing wrong. Her tongue was not sore or anything. A couple of days later, her tongue started to swell more, and it began to get really sore, so sore that she could not eat. She went back to the hospital, and demanded something be done. The doctor took an x-ray of her tongue, and noticed a lump. He prepared her for minor surgery. 

When the doctor cut her tongue open, a live roach crawled out. There were roach eggs on the seal of the envelope. The egg was able to hatch inside of her tongue, because of her saliva. It was warm and moist… 

This is a true story…Pass it on.

If you know just a little bit about cockroaches and their development, you would find at least one of the flaws in the logic. The most glaring is that cockroaches don’t lay tiny little eggs. In fact, you will never find an individual cockroach egg because baby cockroaches develop inside a sealed egg case that holds a couple dozen developing embryos. The brown egg case is about the size of a dried pea so it would be pretty hard to miss one on an envelope flap.

Secondly, even if there was an egg and the egg hatched, how did the cockroach end up inside her tongue? An egg would have been swallowed early on and hatching cockroach nymphs don’t bore into things. What did it feed on inside her tongue? How did it breathe inside her tongue? Didn’t those scratchy roach legs tickle? The X-ray should have revealed what was inside the “lump.” How did the victim or the doctor ever connect a cockroach in her tongue with licking an envelope two weeks earlier? So many questions, so many gullible readers.

Have you read an Internet horror story about bugs or spiders? Wondering if it could actually be true? Visit www.Snopes.com to find out. These people have the entertaining job of researching all manner of Internet hoaxes to determine their credibility. Ingesting cockroach eggs seems to be a popular topic. Here’s a similar online hoax that could be coming soon to an inbox near you, Another Urban Pest Legend Debunked!

Photo Credit : “Blatella germanica cdc” | Wikimedia Commons.

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