Do Stick Insects Make Good Pets for Beginners?
You reading this article tells me that you’ve developed an interest in stick insects, and for good reasons. They are large, unique-looking, and have an exotic vibe that you have to love.
But are can these weird insects make for proper pets for beginners who aren’t used to having pets, to begin with?
I would say yes, seeing how stick insects are less demanding than many other pets you might consider. But let’s see what makes them so attractive for novice pet keepers.
Are Stick Insects Good Pets for Children?
They absolutely are. Stick insects are actually ideal for children for several reasons, including:
- They are exotic – Kids like to brag about their pets and amaze their friends, and they can’t really do that with a cat. On the other hand, an exotic insect will hit the mark right from the get-go. These are peculiar-looking creatures that will attract all the attention and impress immediately.
- They don’t make too much mess – You will keep the stick insect into its own terrarium, in an enclosed environment, which already limits the amount of mess they can produce. No more peeing or pooping on the carpet or carrying dirt on your new furniture from outside. At the same time, children aren’t really keen on cleaning their pets’ mess, since they would rather have the good without the bad. This makes the stick insect ideal for the job.
- They are quiet and easy-going – The stick insect doesn’t make any sounds unless threatened, and even then, not always. It is also a peaceful and calm creature that children can hold without having to fear any bites. Granted, the stick insect is not as cuddly as a puppy, but, hey, you can’t have it all.
Are Stick Insects Easy to Care For?
This species is ideal for you if you’re the insect type since it requires minimal maintenance. You only need to do several things to accommodate your stick insect, after which the maintenance process will come down to a routine.
- Set up the environment – Several aspects to remember here. The first is that stick insects are exclusively herbivores and require several plants to provide them with their nutrients. Keeping a water bowl inside their cage is essential to keep their food wet and fresh. Otherwise, the plant-based food will dry out soon, requiring you to replace it often. The cage also needs to have some natural or artificial ventilation since stick insects love a flow of fresh air. Don’t go hurricane-level; just ensure a smooth airflow to keep your insects content.
- Ensure optimal humidity – Stick insects come from warm and humid environments, and they require humidity to remain healthy. This is primarily because stick insects grow via molting, which requires a humid habitat to complete successfully and without any complications. I suggest spraying their environment with water occasionally, especially if the environmental temperature is slightly higher during the day.
- Provide adequate diet – Stick insects eat a variety of plant matter, including bramble, ivy, privet, oak, rose, hawthorn, etc. You should provide them with various plants regularly to make sure they get all the nutrients they require. As I’ve already mentioned previously, place their food in a water container to allow plants to retain moisture and remain fresh for longer. If necessary, change the water every week or whenever it gets too dirty.
Other than these tasks, your stick insects don’t require much. They are so easy to care for that even children can handle them with minimal effort.
What Do Pet Stick Insects Eat?
Stick insects are herbivores and will consume a variety of plant-based foods. One of their preferred items is eucalyptus. Provide them with fresh leaves every 2-3 days, and your stick insect will thank you for it.
As I’ve specified before, you can also feed them privet, oak leaves, or bramble if you can get access to them. Just make sure you store them in water to keep them moist and fresh for your insect.
How Long Do Stick Insects Live?
Stick insects have a varying lifespan, depending on their species, gender, and environmental condition. You should expect your stick insect to reach sexual maturity at around 6 months of age and live double that or more.
Unlike other domesticated exotic pets, stick insects tend to live more in captivity than in their natural environment. Partly is due to the complete lack of predators in domestic habitats and the daily access to optimal living conditions.
In many cases, you have stick insects that live up to 15 months or more. It’s also worth noting that female stick insects live longer than the males.
Do Stick Insects Die Easily?
Stick insects can die in captivity and, in almost all cases, it’s their handlers’ fault. Some of the causes to consider include:
- Feeding them leaves and plants treated with pesticide or other harmful chemicals
- Forcing them to live in tight, claustrophobic spaces, rendering them unable to molt properly
- Keeping multiple insects in a small space, causing them to fight with each other
- Not keeping their habitat humid, causing growth issues interfering with the molting process
Other than that, stick insects are resilient and will adapt to their environment within certain limitations. They don’t even need artificial heating, for instance, since they can cope with temperature fluctuations quite easily.
Where Can You Buy a Pet Stick Insect?
Stick insects are rather difficult to buy in regular pet stores since they rank as pests in many states. You can probably find them in shops dealing with exotic pets, where you can pay around $25 to $50 for a batch of 50 insects or so.
Another way around the situation will be to contact insect breeders directly if you know of any. They will provide you with personalized orders and even growing and maintenance tips to keep your stick insect in optimal conditions.
Stick insects are exotic but easy-going and resilient creatures, making for ideal pets, so long as you’re okay with not petting them. The insect needs a reasonably larger environment, especially if the species it belongs to produces bigger specimens. After all, some stick insects can reach 12-13 inches in size.
You should also provide them with fresh food regularly, keep their environment humid, and ensure moderate airflow through their habitat. Aside from that, you only need to verify and care for the insect’s needs every week since the stick insect can thrive without your intervention for the most part.