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How to look after a Stick Insect Care Guide | Kellyville Pets

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This comprehensive care guide will show you how to look after a Stick Insect in 3 easy steps

Fast Facts:

How long will my Stick Insect live? They can live for 12-18 months

How big will my Stick Insect grow? They will grow 15-20cm in length

What size of tank is recommended for my Stick Insect? They require a plastic or mesh enclosure with good ventilation

What does a Stick Insect eat? - Eucalyptus leaves

How easy is it to look after Stick Insects? They are a low maintenance pet

Stick Insect Housing

There are a number of options suitable for housing stick insects and these vary depending on the species and number of insects being kept.

Plastic tanks with ventilated lids make ideal insect enclosures. These tanks are usually more suited to younger stick insects or smaller species. The minimum size recommended would be 25x15x15cm. Larger mesh style enclosures are great for bigger species or housing multiple insects together.

Enclosures should have enough height to allow the insect to hang upside down when shedding its skin.

It is important that the insect enclosure is positioned in a well-lit room, however extended periods of direct sun can overheat the insects quickly.

Stick Insect Care

Stick Insects are clean animals, and require minimal maintenance. Collection of shed skins, poo and wiping down of the sides of the enclosure weekly will ensure good hygiene for your Stick Insect. Never use detergents or insecticides when cleaning.

Female Stick Insects are unable to fly as they only have tiny wings that can’t lift their body weight. Females live longer than males, however age varies between species. Males are long, straight and slender and have fully developed wings with which they are able fly.

Females can lay anywhere from 100-1,300 eggs. Females don’t need a male to produce fertile eggs, but eggs produced without a male result in all babies being females. The female flicks her eggs from the end of her tail. These eggs resemble small, round, cream seeds and will generally hatch within a few months.

If you happen to have a female lay eggs, mist the eggs every 2–3 days with a fine water sprayer, and keep your eyes out for tiny spiny leaf insects which will uncurl their bodies as they emerge from the egg.

The newly emerged stick insect babies, or nymphs, can uncurl themselves up to four times the size of their egg.

Stick Insect Feeding

Stick insects will feed mainly on eucalyptus (gum) leaves. Generally they prefer broad leaf varieties but you may have to try out a few different varieties to find one that they like to eat, as preference will differ between species as will the age of the leaf preferred.

Fresh leaves should be provided every 2–3 days. Store the leaves in a jar of water; this will keep them fresh for longer.

Care should be taken that the stick insects can’t fall into the water container and drown.

Stick insects get all their food and water requirements from the leaves that they eat. It is important to maintain humidity in their enclosure, so a fine mist of water should be sprayed in their enclosure once a day.

Care should be taken with feeding the hatchlings as they haven’t yet developed the strong, cutting mandibles of an adult stick insect, so the babies are quite dependent on a supply of soft, newly sprouted leaves. Over the next few months the young leaf insect will go through several moults, known as instars, shedding and leaving their old skin behind as they grow too big for it.


Did You Know!

Phasmid comes from the Greek word meaning “phantom”, which describes how these stick insects blend into their surroundings. If they are disturbed, they will sway from side to side like a leaf being blown by the wind and sometimes they will even fall to the ground and remain motionless, blending in with leaf litter.

We have created a Shopping list to show what you need to look after a Stick Insect:

  • Enclosure; 25 x 15 x 15cm minimum
  • Substrate (coco peat)
  • Water sprayer
  • Jar to hold leaves
  • Supply of fresh eucalyptus leaves

Common health issues in Stick insects

Difficulty Moulting: If humidity levels are too low, or the enclosure is not tall enough, stick insects may have trouble shedding their skin.

Loss of Limbs: If over handled or not handled with adequate care, stick insects can have their delicate legs broken off.

Red flags

Is your Stick Insect showing any of the signs of disease or illness? If yes, please consult your reptile vet.

  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy


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At Kellyville Pets, we encourage responsible pet ownership.

CARE GUIDE © Copyright 2016 Kellyville Pets - All information found in this care guide is based upon our own experience. The information provided is not the only information available. In any medical situations,  you should always consult your vet, including questions regarding your pet's diet.