“Stick insects make great pets! These fascinating creatures take up very little space, and cheaper to feed than conventional pets. They are great pets for young children who are just starting to get interested in pet ownership and also provide a great way to learn about insects and their life cycles”.
There are a number of options suitable for housing stick insects and these vary depending on the species and number of insects being kept.
Plastic tanks with ventilated lids make ideal insect enclosures. These tanks are usually more suited to younger stick insects or smaller species. The minimum size recommended would be 25x15x15cm.
Larger mesh style enclosures are great for bigger species or housing multiple insects together. Enclosures should have enough height to allow the insect to hang upside down when shedding its skin.
It is important that the insect enclosure is positioned in a well-lit room, however extended periods of direct sun can overheat the insects quickly
Stick Insects are clean animals, and require minimal maintenance. Collection of shed skins, poo and wiping down of the sides of the enclosure weekly will ensure good hygiene for your Stick Insect. Never use detergents or insecticides when cleaning.
Female Stick Insects are unable to fly as they only have tiny wings that can’t lift their body weight.
Females can lay anywhere from 100-1,300 eggs and don’t need a male to produce fertile eggs, but eggs produced without a male result in all babies being females. The female flicks her eggs from the end of her tail. These eggs resemble small, round, cream seeds and will generally hatch within a few months.
If you happen to have a female lay eggs, mist the eggs every 2–3 days with a fine water sprayer, and keep your eyes out for tiny spiny leaf insects which will uncurl their bodies as they emerge from the egg.
The newly emerged stick insect babies, or nymphs, can uncurl themselves up to four times the size of their egg.
Our Stick Insects enjoy Peppermint Tree leaves, Lilly Pilly Leaves and Gum Tree leaves. Fresh leaves should be provided at least once a week. Leaf Insects prefer Lilypilly leaves.
Store the leaves in a jar of water; this will keep them fresh for longer. Care should be taken that the stick insects can’t fall into the water container and drown.
Stick insects get all their food and water requirements from the leaves that they eat. It is important to maintain humidity in their enclosure, so a fine mist of water should be sprayed in their enclosure once a day, twice in summer.
Care should be taken with feeding the hatchlings as they haven’t yet developed the strong, cutting mandibles of an adult stick insect, so the babies are quite dependent on a supply of soft, newly sprouted leaves. Over the next few months the young leaf insect will go through several moults, known as instars, shedding and leaving their old skin behind as they grow too big for it.
There are many different types of stick insects, at The Happ Pet Place we stock:
- Spiny stick insect,
- leaf stick insect,
- Crown lichen stick insect;
Pop into the store to view these creatures and discuss their care requirements in more detail.