How to care for stick insects
What makes the ideal first pet? We are often asked this question at Victoria Vets and the stick insect can be a surprisingly good choice. What's more they are easily available from many of the good independent pet shops around Glossop, Marple and Hyde.
Housing stick insects
The one thing stick insects are good at is exploring and escaping, so it is vital that you provide housing that is secure. A glass fish tank or vivarium will make a good home, as it is easy to see your stick insect pets, and they are high enough to place branches of leaves. A 60 litre tank measuring 50cm long and 25cm wide will be adequate for quite a few stick insects.
Bark or sand on the floor is perfect as a substrate, though newspaper is also very good. A light source during the day above the tank, together with some form of heating (they need to be kept around 25C), though make sure they can come in direct contact with the heater as they could be burnt.
What do stick insects eat?
It does depend on what species of stick insect you have. Many will thrive very well on wild brambles (such as blackberry brambles), some can eat oak leaves, some ivy, and some privet. Just check first as to the requirements of yours. If you aren't sure, contact me, Jonathan Down, through Exotic Pet Care's email and I will try to help.
Do stick insect's drink?
Yes, though they don't all need to drink from a bowl. Most will drink from tiny droplets of water on leaves. If you mist the leaves once or twice a day, this should be sufficient.
Can I breed stick insects?
Yes, and in some species like the Indian or Common stick insect you can breed females from females. The eggs don't need to be fertilised. If you find eggs, it is fun to let them hatch, though it can take many months for this to happen.
How do I know if my stick insect is healthy?
Look out for any of these signs...
- Normal active behaviour, moving from leaf to leaf, eating.
- All legs present
- Antennae present
- Normal colour and shape
When to see the vet
There could be all sorts of reasons why you should have your stick insect checked by an expert. Here are some of the more common ones:
- Loss of one or more legs
- Incomplete metamorphosis (not shedding properly)
- Not eating
- Not moving
- A dusty appearance (some moulds can grow if the humidity is too high)
- Aggressive behaviour to other stick insect's
- Eggs not hatching
Free, expert advice
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