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Okay, Matt:

Everyone has heard those incredible stories where someone's pet cat or dog wanders 3000 miles to find their home again, but I discovered something fascinating right here in Clairemont. Not liking to crush little creatures, I sometimes flush them down the toilet. Once I did this with a cockroach, and even though he was out of sight, he reappeared in the toilet about 15 minutes later. When I completely flushed a bunch of snails from my garden, the next day one of the snails was sliming itself up inside the porcelain. What makes these creatures possess such incredible homing devices and survival skills?

-- Paul Harris, Clairemont

The muffled snickers you hear is the Harrises' amused cockroach population. The species have survived disasters that wiped out dinosaurs. A little thing like plumbing won't stop them. Cockroaches love water. Their shells are very waxy. They can flatten themselves down to a sixteenth of an inch and grip any surface. And they don't have lungs or a breathing system like mammals'. The trap in your toilet or any bumps on the pipes give them a safe spot to wait out the flood. Then they just crawl back up the way they came in. If this is the most fascinating thing going on in Clairemont, well, it might be time to move.

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