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Edward Archbold dies after winning live cockroach-eating contest

They may be an excellent source of protein, but it's hard to imagine the appeal of a contest that requires its winner to gobble up the highest volume of live insects.

But as The Associated Press reports, that's exactly what 30 contestants gladly signed up to do at a South Florida reptile store on Friday.

The person who managed to consume the most creepy-crawlies — including cockroaches and worms — would walk away with a pet python.

Unfortunately, a 32-year-old man discovered a little too late that his system didn't quite care for the same diet as his reptilian grand prize.

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Edward Archbold of West Palm Beach collapsed outside the Ben Siegel Reptile Store after eating dozens of multi-legged critters.

He was taken to the hospital, where he died a short time later. The sheriff's office told the news agency no other contestants became ill.

"We feel terribly awful. He looked like he just wanted to show off and was very nice," storeowner Ben Siegel told the AP, adding with perhaps an unfortunate choice of words that Archbold was "the life of the party."

Yet despite their less-than-savoury appearance (at least in modern western culture) insects have long formed a part of the human diet.

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With that in mind, Michael Adams, professor of entomology at the University of California at Riverside, told the news agency that as-yet-undetermined factors were likely at play in Archbold's demise.

"Unless the roaches were contaminated with some bacteria or other pathogens, I don't think that cockroaches would be unsafe to eat," he said.

"Some people do have allergies to roaches… but there are no toxins in roaches or related insects."

Autopsy results are still pending.

In the meantime, the store has donated the python to Archbold's estate, a "prize" that his loved ones may not exactly appreciate come feeding time.

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