Flowers, chocolate - or a cockroach? Banham Zoo and Africa Alive offer insect sponsorship gift for Valentine’s Day

Clare Jenkinson does the annual animal audit at Banham Zoo where she has to count all the animals li

Clare Jenkinson does the annual animal audit at Banham Zoo where she has to count all the animals living at the zoo from cockroaches to leopards.; HIssing cockroach - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2010

It is the perfect present for lovebugs hoping to show their romance can go the distance.

Banham Zoo's famous tiger cubs are off to start new lives in Europe.Yeva and Xenia will be leaving i

Banham Zoo's famous tiger cubs are off to start new lives in Europe.Yeva and Xenia will be leaving in June. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

With a month until Valentine's Day, the Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA) has encouraged couples to leave chocolates and flowers on shop shelves - and name a cockroach after their other half instead.

The ZSEA, who run Banham Zoo and Lowestoft's Africa Alive, has 2,000 hardy Madagascan Hissing Cockroaches, known for their ability to withstand extreme climates, in need of a name.

Posters around the parks say: 'Flowers wilt, chocolate melts, cockroaches will be here forever.

'Is your relationship with your loved one so strong that it could survive a nuclear apocalypse? Or maybe you have a pest from your past you want to suitably remember?'

Along with a certificate of adoption, sponsors will receive three cockroach-shaped chocolates to tuck into.

Michael Kitching, ZSEA fundraising officer, said: 'This gift is a perfect package for those who perhaps don't quite enjoy a traditional Valentine's or who have a quirky sense of humour.

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'What's better is the money raised will go towards our work, conserving some of the world's most endangered animals and educating the general public.'

But if the creepy crawlies are more likely to cause a row than romance, animal lovers can also sponsor tigers and snow leopards.

Sponsorship starts at £20. For information call the fundraising office on 01953 715371 or visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/valentines

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