ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Education and Science»
  • Life Sciences

Pet Walking Stick Insects

Updated on January 28, 2014

Pet Stick Insects

Have you ever had any unusual pets? Our most unusual pets have been our pet walking stick insects. We started our collection several years ago with three different species native to Australia:

- goliath stick insects

- spiny leaf insects

- children's stick insect

On this page I'll give you information on how we look after our fascinating 6-legged pets.

GonnaFly - stick insect fan
GonnaFly - stick insect fan

I'm Jeanette

Known as GonnaFly on Squidoo

I'm a homeschooling mum from Australia. We love stick insects. We have owned stick insects (affectionately known as stickies) for the past 4 or 5 years and have enjoyed all the educational moments associated with them. We have measured their length, recorded the length of their instars (what's an instar?) and even made a lapbook about them.

All the large photos on this page were taken by me.

Benefits of Pet Stick Insects

baby walking stick insect
baby walking stick insect

Baby goliath stick insect

  • they are educational
  • they are free to feed
  • they make a great talking point with visitors
  • we can leave them for up to about a week on their own
  • they don't need to be bathed or groomed
  • they are very quiet. The only noise I've heard them make is the chomp, chomp noise as they munch their leaves
  • even their dropping smell good - our stick insects eat eucalyptus leaves and their droppings smell like eucalyptus leaves. (I've been considering packaging the droppings and selling it as pot-poo-rri)
  • they breed very well. We sell our excess stick insects to a pet shop.

Stick Insects ROCK!

What's the most unusual pet you've owned?

Click next to the best answer

See results

Walking Stick Insect Photos - Click on the thumbnails to see bigger pictures

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

Buyer Beware

In some areas it is not legal to keep stick insects / walking stick insects as pets. Please check your local/state regulations before obtaining any. For example, in the USA if you wish to keep any insect which is not native to your area, you will have to apply for a permit - more info here

Choosing the Right Terrarium for Your Walking Stick Insect

It is important that the height of your terrarium is about three times the length of an adult insect because most stick insects hang from the vegetation to molt their skins until they are fully grown. Our stick insects all flip backwards out of their skins so the enclosure needs to be high enough to prevent them from hitting the ground in the process.

The air holes will need to be small enough to prevent young hatchings from escaping.

Because the newly hatched stick insects are programmed to climb up, they often accumulate on the ceiling of the enclosure. So it is best to have access / doors on the side of the enclosure to avoid babies running everywhere when you need to get inside to add more leaves etc.

You will need to find out the humidity requirements of your stick insect. Some species, which require high humidity, will do better in a totally enclosed cage (with some air holes of course!). Others will be quite happy in a mesh cage.

Exo-Terra Glass Terrarium 18x18x24

We have two terrariums for our stick insects, one for the bigger stick insects and one for the smaller stick insects. We decided to do this when our stick insects started multiplying - seriously multiplying - and we were finding it hard to keep track of the little stickies. Our smaller terrarium is a 12x12x12 inch exo-terra glass terrarium. It is a great terrarium, good-looking, side-opening doors, removable vented ceiling and a raised floor with room for a heating pad underneath (which we don't actually need in our climate). The bigger terrarium shown here should be suitable for larger adult walking sticks.

Your Pet Walking Stick Insect Enclosure Set-up - You will need:

  • the terrarium (see above)
  • a tall, sturdy vase or jug, preferably with a wide base and narrow top (less likely to tip over)
  • sand for the floor of the terrarium - easier to clean enclosure

Stick Insect Terrarium

Terranium for pet walking stick insects
Terranium for pet walking stick insects

The setup for our hatchling stick insects

Place a layer of sand on the base of the aquarium. Put your vase / jug in the aquarium and fill it with water. Put your stick insects' leaves in the vase. Transfer your walking stick insects to their new home. And that's it! Easy.

Looking after pet walking stick insects is easy as long as you're not queasy about handling insects - You will need:

  • a source of the insects' food leaves
  • a sieve for cleaning out the enclosure
  • a paintbrush for handling the small insects
  • a spray bottle for misting the enclosure

Pet Stick Insect Care

caring for you pet stick insect
caring for you pet stick insect

You will need to make sure that your stick insect has a constant supply of food. Keeping the leaves in a container of water will keep them fresher for longer. You can just add new branches to the vase.

Each day spray a light water mist onto the leaves.

Every week or two, you should remove the old leaves and replace them with new ones, and replace the water in the vase. When you do this, you will have to transfer your stick insects. The easiest way to transfer the babies is with a paintbrush - to avoid crushing the little insects with your fingers.

Periodically you will need to sieve the sand on the base of the terrarium to remove the droppings and any eggs. I recommend that you sort through this (using gloves and tweezers if you wish) to separate and keep the eggs and throw out the droppings in your compost.

Find out more about looking after pet stick insects

Stick Insect Caution

As noted by one of my readers, walking sticks (or their eggs) can cause much devastation if released into the wild. Please do not release any non-native species outside.

Have you ever owned walking stick insects or any other unusual pets? Share your experiences here.

Guestbook

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Zach 3 years ago

      I had A mole For like A year

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Yes I have owned Stick insects, they are a great way to get over a fear of creepy crawlies. I got quite attached to mine.

    • GonnaFly profile image
      Author

      Jeanette 4 years ago from Australia

      @anonymous: Hi Sunnie,

      I would not bother planting the plants directly in the terrarium as the insects would completely decimate it in a very short time.

      I would think that you could try different cuttings in your terrarium (making sure that you have cuttings of what you know they eat). I guess that they won't touch anything that is bad for them. But it would be best to ask someone who knows about your specific species. I don't know anything about Indian stick bugs. If you are going to buy them, I recommend that you ask there.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I'm preparing for some Indian Stick Bugs, and would like to plant a terrarium for them to live in. I've read several plants they DO eat (brambles, roses, ivy...) but would like to include some plants they will not munch to bits. Are there some plants I can put into the tank that the Stickies will leave alone? Also - I don't want to include any plant will possibly harm them in any way.

      Another question is this: Can I plant their food plants directly into the terrarium tank? Or is it really best to just put cuttings into a vase of water?

      As I said: I've read up on what they DO eat, what I'm mostly looking for here are plants they will not eat. Something for aesthetic value, not nutrition...

    • sansiona lm profile image

      sansiona lm 4 years ago

      I have Indian stick insects (Carausius morosus), they're adorable! :)

      But you goliath stick insects look so amazing! ^_^

    • profile image

      AnimalHouse 4 years ago

      This is a very unusual pet indeed.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I would have to say some of the weirdest pets I have had are a squirrel names Squivver and right now I have a praying mantis names buggsley :)

    • ForestBear LM profile image

      ForestBear LM 5 years ago

      Great lens, stick insects are so unusual looking but I do find them fascinating. Had a big one of them sitting on my car the other day, what a surprise :-)

    • GeorgeneMBramlage profile image

      Georgene Moizuk Bramlage 5 years ago from southwestern Virginia

      Wonderful lens! I love walking sticks and their relatives - there are IMHO one of nature's marvels - but never knew that there were so many kinds.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Let's see ... we had a baby naked mole rat for a day. God bless my truckdriver honey, who likes to bring home the things he finds ... how he finds these animals and insects, I'll never know! He has brought home an owl butterfly, a huge dragonfly (well, those were both dead on arrival), and a large walking stick. BUT, our most interesting pet was a squirrel that we named Boomer; we had him for about 7 months. Squirrels like avocados, almonds, pumpkin pie, and shiny blouse buttons, for anyone who wants to know!

    • profile image

      ellies lm 5 years ago

      The insect walking stick has mesmerized me since I was a little girl. They taught me not to be afraid of bugs and other insects. I could watch them for hours. Love your lens...gave you a Squidlike too!

    • profile image

      ellies lm 5 years ago

      The insect walking stick has mesmerized me since I was a little girl. They taught me not to be afraid of bugs and other insects. I could watch them for hours. Love your lens...gave you a Squidlike too!

    • GonnaFly profile image
      Author

      Jeanette 5 years ago from Australia

      @anonymous: Good point. Any pet owner needs to be responsible, not releasing a non-native pet into the wild.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Oh, did anyone happen to mention that walking sticks are major gardening pests?

      Read this . . . it's enough to make your hair stand on end:

      http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/calif/msg0...

      A few comments from that site:

      One full-grown specimen can denude 1/2 a rosebush in a night.

      Balboa Park and the Zoo are apparently suffering from an onslaught. According to their reports, the darned things appreciate over 80% of the zoos horticultural offerings as prime chow.

      We in La Jolla may owe our infestation of these things to one 14 year-old who about 4 years ago bought them as _pets_ over the internet and then decided he didn't want them anymore and turned 'em loose. Each female holding some 100,000 eggs.

      They have no natural predators in Southern California.

      I have contacted the UC IPM extension about the problem, but the only advice that I have received so far has been to try Orthene over the whole area. We are very reluctant to blast the neighborhood with such a broad-spectrum killer. Yes, it would probably do in a lot of Walking Sticks. But it would also harm a lot of birds, and do in our entire, carefully cultivated array of beneficials (we have a lot of psyllid problems here between Eugenias and eucalyptus, not to mention the honey bee issues). We've worked hard to cultivate a strong beneficial insect population in this area and are verrrrry reluctant to louse it up, so have been avoiding the "Just blast it all and hope for the best." approach.

      As a result, we can all be found doing a late-night Edward Scissorhands impression-- I'm out there with a big flashlight and a pair of scissors, snipping the suckers in half. So are many of my neighbors. We are, sad to say, losing the battle. Since every female is launching 100,000 eggs at a drop and the predators are few and far between (never thought I'd pray for a rat infestation in my life), our plants are being decimated. Roses, bay laurels, gardenias, orchids, you name it, they're loving it.

      Snail bait (Deadline, Sluggo) has had no effect. Beer traps have had no effect. We even built sticky traps of boxes with their favorite leaves in them (none entered, no chewing). I've done a ton of internet searches on the things -- nothing tells me how to kill them. There are hundreds of sites dedicated to raising them, cuddling them, appreciating them. Nothing on how to kill them. I even posted a couple of questions on those forums. They were deleted. They don't want to talk about them as pests, only as pets. The only thing I could find on killing them was that if you raise them in a house, airfresheners/plugins/etc. can kill them as their respiratory system is "unprotected". I tried putting some Glade fresheners next to my rose bushes, but evidently the open air dissipates it enough that they don't avoid it. Accckkkkk!

      Does anyone have any suggestions????? My followup query to the UC IPM extension regarding soil drench effectiveness (imidacloparid) has not rec'vd a response in oer 2 weeks, so I'm guessing they don't know. Has anyone had any success with anything in dealing with these things? One of my neighbor's gardener brought her a hawthorn branch that he'd cut off the tree that they could see over 50 of the things "frozen" on the branch trying to look like twigs.

    • phoenix arizona f profile image

      phoenix arizona f 6 years ago

      I came close to having a python as a pet once, but certain others in my household weren't going for it.

    • MamaBelle profile image

      Francis Luxford 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      These look like such cool pets. Nice lens!

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image

      WindyWintersHubs 6 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      These insects are very interesting. We don't have a lot of animals or insects on Vancouver Island. Thanks for your info on these unusual pets. :)

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      I found one of these amazing stick insects when I was living in Australia. It was as long as my hand. You have a great lens here, so I'm leaving a blessing for you.

    • JanieceTobey profile image

      JanieceTobey 6 years ago

      We've never owned walking sticks, but now you've got me intrigued! We have had tadpoles/frogs, caterpillars/painted lady butterflies, and a praying mantis as pets for brief periods of time.

    • profile image

      FuzziesFriend 6 years ago

      Great lens. Walking Sticks. Love it.

    • MikeEssex profile image

      MikeEssex 7 years ago

      Had no idea there was so much maintenance required, and initial bits and pieces to get. Guess every pet needs a good home and lots of care.

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 7 years ago

      I woulda never thought walking sticks would be kept as pets...totally interesting info and pics. PS I don't think I'd rush into biz selling pot-poo-rri, I know I'd not rush to be a customer...lol!

    • indigomoth profile image

      indigomoth 7 years ago from New Zealand

      This is a great lens! I'll come back to look if I ever find a stick insect again!

      The strangest pets I've ever had? Well, I once kept a gum emperor caterpillar until it went into a cocoon... I've also had peacocks and kune kune pigs (and more... we had a menagarie when I was a kid)

    • AWildDog profile image

      AWildDog 7 years ago

      Never had stick insects, I'm not 100% sure if I'd like one or not - they have a 50% creepy factor! I have mourning geckos though - http://www.squidoo.com/keeping-mourning-geckos-as-...

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 7 years ago from Concord VA

      We do have walking sticks, but they aren't pets. They live outside and we see them quite often. Interesting idea for a pet...and very unusual. :)