How many pets do you have? Probably you have one or two, perhaps a few more. Maybe you have none at all. But one eight-year-old from Tulsa, Oklahoma, really has a lot of pets - thousands of them! Even stranger, her pets would make some people scream. Stacked around the walls of her room are aquariums and special plastic containers holding thousands of cockroaches!
Shelby Counterman was only eighteen months old when she began to show an interest in insects and other creepy-crawlies. When she was three, a kind neighbor gave Shelby her first cockroaches. Shelby was very happy - except for one thing... she wanted baby cockroaches and hers were all males. A trip to a pet store solved that problem, and Shelby began to breed her cockroaches. Now, five years later, her first cockroaches have multiplied to thousands. Shelby keeps her pets in cages coated with Vaseline to prevent the cockroaches from escaping. (If any roaches do get out, a bearded dragon named Toothless is ready to devour them.)
Shelby is very happy with her pets, and was shocked when she heard that a local news anchor, LeAnne Taylor, couldn’t stand cockroaches. “How could anyone hate cockroaches?” she asked her mother. Shelby sent a picture of her pets to LeAnne and invited her to check out her pets in person. LeAnne took her up on the offer and reluctantly held one of Shelby’s cockroaches. (Shelby was satisfied, but LeAnne probably still hates cockroaches.)
Shelby’s brood of bugs is going strong, and now she is helping a few friends start their own batches of roaches!