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Inside HSI Youth

Stick Insect

Care and feeding

Stick Insect image courtesy: www.sasionline.org/arthzoo


A 10-gallon terrarium or aquarium is good enough, but like I said earlier, it should be tall enough to allow the sticks to hang from twigs and leaves, especially when they are moulting.

If you have an Indian walking stick, you can be assured that it will survive almost anywhere on many different kinds of leaves. To make sure it doesn't get away and become a pest that eats every leaf in sight on the plants in your home, secure the tank with mesh screen.

For humidity, you can mist the leaves in the tank. If you have to use bottled or tap water, allow it to sit for two to three days to dechlorinate it. Temperature wise, between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for most species. In the winter, you can either install a heating pad or use a light bulb to provide heat.


You may pick up a stick, but do so gently, as they are prone to injuring their delicate legs. Do not pick up the ones that have spiny legs, and stay clear of the species that bite. The American walking stick, which has two stripes on its back, should be avoided as it can spray an acidic compound into your eyes and cause temporary blindness.


Not surprisingly, stick insects are strict vegetarians (that's probably how they stay slim and trim!) They love leaves, and you can keep these fresh longer by placing their stems in water that is stored in a closed container. Almost all species of sticks will eat the leaves of blackberry plants. You can also try leaves of the easily available Ficus benjamina or even Italian parsley. Use dark green leaves instead of the newly grown, lighter coloured ones which could contain certain natural poisons. Also make sure that the leaves are free of pesticides.

Next: A name for your Stick Insect

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