Do Stick Insects Need and Drink Water?
Like any other animal, stick insects have specific dietary needs, and this also includes hydration. That’s what we’ll be discussing in this article. So, if you’re interested and want to learn more about stick insects, how they drink, and how you can meet their water requirements, keep reading!
I’ll cover some of the most common questions on this topic, so you can learn how to better care for your stick bug.
How do Stick Insects Drink?
Much of a stick insect’s water intake comes from the small water droplets on leaves. However, stick insects will also get a significant quantity of water just from the leaves they’re eating. After all, plants are great sources of water.
But slurping up water droplets is quicker and easier than getting water from the plants directly. Sometimes, stick insects will also drink from small bowls or dishes, if these are available. It doesn’t matter too much how they get their water, as long as they get enough.
Just remember that stick insects require hydration. They can get thirsty easily, and they lose moisture quickly due to their small body size. To meet their needs, these bugs have to take in a small quantity of liquid every day.
Do Stick Insects Need a Water Bowl?
Not really! Stick insects need a stable supply of water, but it doesn’t have to come in the form of a water bowl. All species can drink water droplets from leaves and this will satisfy their hydration needs just fine. However, some stick insects won’t shy away from a big helping of water. There are actually stick insect species, such as those in the genus Haaniella, that require a source of standing water.
If your stick insects are very thirsty, it will be easier for them to get a lot of water quickly. In this case, a water bowl proves advantageous. Keeping a water bowl in the enclosure is also a good way to maintain humidity levels. It’s a win-win!
If you plan to include a water bowl in the enclosure, just remember to keep things safe for your bugs. Choose a shallow bowl or a dish. Your stick bugs might accidentally fall and drown in a deep bowl. You can also place a mesh just a bit below the water surface. This should prevent stick insects from falling in, but it won’t impede them from drinking the water.
Do Stick Insects Require Misting?
Yes, you should mist your stick insects’ enclosure regularly. There are two important reasons why. First, when you mist the enclosure, you create the water droplets these bugs need to drink.
If you have planted vegetation in the terrarium, or you keep small branches of leaves in a small container, you should mist them daily. You’ll provide your pet bugs with water, and keep the plants healthy and fresh as well.
The second reason why misting is important is humidity. Stick insects need around 70-80% humidity to keep their skin flexible for easier molting. However, because the enclosure has to be well-ventilated, moisture levels aren’t very stable. You need to top up the levels regularly, and misting is the easiest and quickest way to do so.
Can Stick Insects Drink Fruit Juice?
It’s hard to say. As a general rule, stick insects won’t drink anything else other than water. Their natural diet consists of green leaves only, and this means they’re also not used to concentrated carbohydrate sources like fruit or fruit juice. However, stick insects also have an innate ability to detect whether a food is toxic for them.
Placing a small dish of fruit juice shouldn’t do much harm. If your stick insect deems it potentially harmful, it won’t touch it. However, even if your particular species likes fruit juice, you shouldn’t replace its source of hydration. While they’re herbivores, stick insects aren’t adapted to fruit and sugar-rich diets.
I would advise against this. But if you want to try it just for a test, do not leave the fruit juice dish out for longer than one day. Fruit juice is high in sugar, which makes it a breeding ground for all kinds of bacteria.
How Much Water Do Stick Insects Need?
Water needs will vary according to species, life stage, and body size. But even longer stick insects don’t need too much water, because their overall body volume is low. However, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about this. Usually, stick insects can meet their hydration needs just from the leaves they eat. As long as the leaves are fresh, they’ll contain enough water.
Stick insects eat multiple times throughout the day, so they won’t miss on that precious life elixir. If you want to be extra safe, you can also lightly mist the leaves once a day. Some stick insect species do require standing water and might drink more than average. However, keeping one shallow dish of water that you refill every day should do the trick.
How Long Can Stick Insects Go Without Water?
Provided they have access to fresh leaves and the temperature and humidity are within the ideal range, stick insects could go for prolonged periods without water. Otherwise, they might die within less than a week.
Generally, you can leave stick insects unattended for about a week, but only if they have enough food. The problem with keeping bugs is that you can’t really tell when they’re hungry or dehydrated. You might not be able to detect the problem until it’s too late.
There are many species of stick insects, and care and hydration requirements might vary between them. However, one thing remains true— all stick insects need to consume water every day. Some get it only from their food, while others require a standing body of water.
Air humidity is also as important as direct hydration. Low humidity conditions lead to more water loss, quicker dehydration, and rigid skin, all of which could negatively impact your pet bug’s health. As long as you keep these two factors in mind, your walking sticks should be happy and healthy.