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Stick Insects Are Fascinating and Easy To Keep
Member Name: janharper
Disadvantages: Multiply very quickly, so you need to be able to deal with this.
Stick insects are very interesting pets to keep. They are amazing to look at and quite easy to care for, but it should be remembered that their lifespan is only around twelve months. So, care needs to be taken when purchasing from pet shops, or breeders. You don't want one that is already old.
The most important thing for a stick insect is other stick insects. They don't like to be alone. So, you need to get your pet a companion but don't put it in a tank with other kinds of insect.
The bottom of the tank you keep them in should be lines with paper. Old newspapers will do the job nicely but they do need to be changed on a weekly basis. Care needs to be taken when you clean out the tank because there will be old brown sticks and bits of old plants on the bottom which are left over from feeding, and it has often happened that the stick insect has been thrown away with the rubbish.
Keep the tank inside away from direct sunlight so that the stick insects don't get too hot and make sure that there is plenty of ventilation by using a screen on top of the tank rather that a solid plastic, or wooden lid. Make sure that the insects have enough room to climb out of their skins which they will do about once a month if they are healthy and not stressed in their environment.
Stick insects live on a diet of fresh leaves. The Indian variety will eat rose, privet and hawthorn leaves but most other types eat bramble leaves which are fairly easy to find. Make sure that you know what type your pet is and what it has been used to feeding on.
The best way to serve up the leaves is to take a pot of water and put a cover over it to guard against the danger of drowning. Stick twigs with leaves attached into the water through the cover. Make sure that the leaves you are feeding your pets have not been sprayed with pesticides, or polluted by fumes from traffic. This is very likely if you pick them from the roadside. Always select leaves from a traffic free area and wash them under a cold tap before putting them into the tank. Spray the leaves everyday with cold water and replace them once a week.
If your stick insect has wings it needs to be allowed to fly. Make sure that the room is safe with all windows closed, and ensure that other pets, especially marauding cats, are kept out.
Remember that a stick insect is very vulnerable for a few days around the time it sheds its skin, so ensure that it is not disturbed at this time. The whole experience of watching this amazing creature shed its entire skin and literally step out of it is a fascinating one, but don't interfere or you will put the creature under stress and it may even die.
The main drawback with keeping these is that they multiply very quickly and you can soon be over run with young if you don't have a plan for dealing with them. You can feed the eggs to fish, or simply wash them away with boiling water to kill them off before they harch but it's wise to have a contingency plan and know what you are going to do with all those stick insects.
Summary: Ideal pet for children but have a very short life span.