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Pet Walking Stick Insects
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.
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 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
Walking Stick Insect Photos - Click on the thumbnails to see bigger pictures
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
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
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.
Identifying Stick Insects
Have you ever owned walking stick insects or any other unusual pets? Share your experiences here.