Stick insects are often named for their ability to hide under the surface of the ground. Although they aren’t venomous, they can sting when threatened. They also have spines on their legs, which can inflict pain on predators. Whether a stick insect is a good candidate to live in your backyard depends on the species. The most important thing is to provide them with a healthy environment.
Among the many factors to consider when keeping stick insects is their need for humidity. There are certain stick insect species that require high humidity and some that don’t. A substrate of peat moss or vermiculite can help keep humidity levels in check. It is also a good idea to provide them with a few fresh leaves.
Another factor to take into consideration is how much space they need. An enclosure that is two to three times the size of the stick insect can be a safe bet. Also, avoid placing them near the road, where exhaust fumes from cars passing by can be a death knell for the little critters.
The most important thing to remember when handling a stick insect is to hold it by the body and not by the leg. In addition, you’ll want to avoid rough handling, since they are extremely delicate animals. You’ll also want to have a hand free if possible, since they tend to be active at night.
The best way to do this is to place them on an open palm. If you want to make sure they don’t fall off, you could fill a small jug with water and place a sponge inside. Alternatively, you can put a small piece of paper towel over the top to make the job easier.
Keeping stick insects is fun and easy, as long as you follow a few simple rules. Don’t give them too much food, which will cause them to starve. Keep the enclosure clean, and try to keep pesticides and herbicides out of the soil. For example, stick insects are sensitive to weed killers and other chemicals. This can lead to infection, which can kill the little buggers.
Providing the appropriate food will ensure that your nymphs survive. Some stick insects are particularly picky eaters, so you’ll want to research what they like to eat. Remember to wash your leaves and make sure that they aren’t contaminated by pesticides or herbicides.
It’s not uncommon for a stick insect to shed its skin. They will do this if they have to to escape a predator. Depending on the species, the process can be fairly traumatic. Nevertheless, it’s worth the effort. These little creatures will regurgitate a substance to put off the threat, which can be quite foul-smelling.
Another thing to keep in mind when keeping stick insects is that they are naturally nocturnal. Make sure that the area you’re putting them in is dark enough for them to sleep. If you’re going to be transporting them, keep them in a carrier that doesn’t snag their wings.