Do Stick Insects Bite or Sting?

Stick insects don’t bite or sting humans because it’s just not in their nature. They have other defense mechanisms and they haven’t evolved to be harmful to other species, especially humans. They don’t have modified front legs that they use to catch other insects like mantises and their attack methods are almost non-existent.

These insects only eat the foliage and are herbivorous. They never bite or sting people or other people because they don’t have to. If they’re being hunted, they rely on their innate camouflage to escape from danger. So far, it has worked wonderfully for them since stick insects have a high survival rate in the wild.

Can a Stick Insect Hurt You?

No, a stick insect can’t hurt you. It’s completely harmless to humans, including babies. They can only innervate you by walking on you but that psychological attack is as far as they go. You’ll only find stick insects around vegetation because it’s their main and only source of food.

During the daytime, they relax and sit still, and only go out to hunt fresh leaves during the night. They’re herbivorous and won’t eat other insects either. When it comes to protecting themselves, their camouflage does all the work. If another predator finds them, they’re dead meat because they can’t protect themselves too efficiently.

Though, they make for good pets because they’re very easy to keep and easy to handle. Stick insects can go hungry for many days without any repercussions, as well. Kids can handle them without a problem and worry that they may be harmed. The worst-case scenario is the stick insect gets crushed involuntarily.

Can You Touch a Stick Insect?

Yes, you can definitely touch a stick insect. Anyone can touch a stick insect because it’s one of the most harmless animals in the world. It doesn’t have stingers or claws to scratch or bite you with, and it can’t poison you either. The most it can do is sit still, waiting for you to release it, or struggling in your hand.

Stick insects look like sticks and twigs, and they’re just as harmless. Those who’ve touched stick insects say that the insects didn’t react violently. Instead, they slowed down their movements, waiting to see what would happen. Many stick insects are curious this way and will come to you to see what’s happening.

These insects like to climb on things, and your body sure looks like a mountain they can climb. Don’t expect all the stick insects in the habitat to come crawling on you, but don’t be surprised if some do.

Keeping stick insects as pets isn’t out of the norm either. Many hobbyists keep stick insects at home in a specially prepared environment. Their upkeep is very simplistic, as they require low maintenance as well!

Do Stick Insects Like to be Handled?

Stick insects have shown varying degrees of affection or curiosity when people handle them. If you’re gentle and understand that these insects are fragile, then you’ll have a good time with them. In most cases, stick insects are very tame and will sit still in your palm without moving around too much.

After they understand you won’t harm them, they may start moving around and crawling on your body. Either way, stick insects enjoy being handled if the handler is careful and gentle. They don’t like being thrown around violently but then again, who does?

Even if you piss them off, stick insects prefer to leave and avoid being handled instead of attacking or harming you. They may try to intimidate you by shuffling their feet or running toward you, but that’s about it. If they can’t intimidate you, they’ll just leave.

How do Stick Insects Protect Themselves?

There are more than 3,000 species of stick insects in the world. They’re all herbivorous, and none of them are aggressive or possess advanced attacking techniques. Instead, what they do have are advanced protective means. All of them have a form of camouflage that masks their presence.

Almost all stick insect species simulate parts of the foliage (sticks, branches, leaves, twigs, etc.). Depending on their size and length, some stick insect species may look different from one another. But it’s all the same – they all look like foliage in the environment.

Some stick insects are incredibly long, with the Phobaeticus kirbyi of Borneo reaching 21 inches in length with its legs outstretched. Regularly, this species reaches about 13 inches in length.

Camouflage isn’t the only protective measure of stick insects, though. Some will produce nasty substances that smell hideously. It will determine other nearby insects or predators to stay away. Clearly, the source of that smell is either dangerous or not healthy to eat.

Other stick insects have spiny legs that may look threatening or act as a defense mechanism against other insects. However, even these stick insects are harmless to humans. Those spiny legs are only harmful to other insects.

Other protection methods include playing dead, changing their color, swiping with their legs, and dancing. They may also remain hidden, expose bright colors, and make loud sounds to deter other predators. It usually works, surprisingly. The insect world is full of fascinating animals.

Many stick insects choose to dance to deter remain hidden from other insects. They pretend to be twigs or leaves, and they “dance in the wind” to simulate the natural movement of foliage.


Stick insects are some of the most peaceful insects in the world. Even praying mantises will try to skewer you if you upset them. Stick insects will retreat and play dead or change their colors in an attempt to intimidate you. You have to try your hardest to make a stick insect attack you.

Even if they attack you, they can’t do it properly because they don’t have the means. Some stick insects have spiny legs, but even those are harmless to humans. They only work on other insects, and it’s not like they use it to kill other insects. They’re there just to prickle them.

Stick Insects   Updated: December 16, 2021
avatar Welcome to Insectic, a blog to learn about insects and bugs. I'm Richard, and I've created this website to share my experience, knowledge, and passion with others.

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