Stick insects are one of the most popular insects kept as pets. They can hide in plain sight on the branches of the plants they eat since they are camouflaged. There are almost 3,000 species of stick insects and the easiest to care for are the Indian, or laboratory, stick insects. The Australian spiny leaf is very impressive and can grow to resemble an 8-inch-long spiny branch with dead leaves for legs.
Stick insects are vegetarians and need a steady supply of leaves. They can drown in water so leaves which are kept in water for freshness should be in a closed container with holes for the stems. Some species need more humidity than others, and it is a good idea to lightly mist the leaves in the tank to give them a source of water.
Stick insects must be handled carefully. They have very delicate legs and will sometimes lose a leg while holding on to their grips. Some varieties may pinch with their legs or bite. It might be a good idea to wear gloves when picking them up. Also, when taking them out of the cage, it’s best to unplug the phone so that they are not startled, causing them to run away.
Cats and stick insects are not a good combination. Cats are inquisitive and want to investigate anything new while stick insects will be angered by this and lash out without warning.
Stick insects should be washed once a week with warm water and a gentle detergent. They can be dried with a cotton bud.