Man dies after competing in a roach eating contest to win a snake.

I understand the appeal of pet ownership and I also understand that the more exotic a pet the more it can cost to acquire. Snakes aren’t my thing, but some folks like keeping them and some of them can cost a pretty penny. So it’s not entirely surprising to me that some folks would engage in silly competitions for the chance to win an expensive snake. What I can’t understand is why anyone would consider snakes, or any other expensive pet, worth eating cockroaches over.

But apparently I’m in the minority in that opinion as a contest held at Ben Siegel Reptiles in West Palm Beach required contestants to do just that and several people signed up to participate.

Alas, for contestant Edward Archbold it would be the last meal he’d ever consume:

Edward Archbold, 32, collapsed after winning the repulsive contest at Ben Siegel Reptile Store. Archbold, who was competing for a free python, was stricken outside the Deerfield Beach business, according to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators reported that Archbold “wasn’t feeling well and began to regurgitate” shortly after the contest’s conclusion. “He had consumed dozens of roaches and worms,” a sheriff’s spokesman noted.

Archbold was pronounced dead after being transported to an area hospital. An autopsy was conducted, and the Broward County medical examiner is awaiting test results to determined Archbold’s cause of death.

On the positive side, he won the contest.

If I had to guess I suspect he may have had an allergic reaction. Eating bugs isn’t particularly dangerous in itself if they’re cleaned and cooked, but live insects can carry a number of potentially problematic diseases (read: e. coli and salmonella, among others) not to mention possibly pesticides.

Knowing all of that, I still wouldn’t eat cockroaches — live or otherwise — unless I was starving and had nothing else at hand. Certainly not for an expensive pet. Very few bugs, uh, bug me, but roaches are at the top of that short list. I couldn’t tell you why. I’ve never had to live in a roach infested home and my encounters with them over the years have been few and very far between, but they give me the heebie jeebies.

The Darwin Awards announce the 2009 winners.

The annual Darwin Awards, given out to those people who have most improved the gene pool by removing themselves from it, are back with 2009’s winners:

DOUBLE DIP (2009 runner up)
For the first time ever, a woman–yes, a member of the safer sex–made it into the year’s Top Darwin Awards! 2009 Antepenultimate Winner is the North Carolina woman who jumped into a swollen creek to rescue her drowning…moped. Read on.

DYING TO GO (2009 runner up)
We’ve all been in his shoes, taking that fateful whiz at the side of the road. After all, “You don’t buy beer, you just rent it.” Team Darwin Awards is proud to announce the 2009 Penultimate Winner. Read on.

CRUSHING DEBT (2009 darwin award winner)
And the winner is… deceased! The city of Dinant, Belgium is the backdrop for this rare Double Darwin Award involving two bankrobbers attempting to make a sizeable withdrawal from an ATM. In hindsight, a debit card would have been safer. Read on.

Congratulations to this year’s winners! They managed to beat out a lot of other highly motivated contenders over the past year to take the top prize. And it’s already looking like it’ll be another hectic year of competition coming up.