Stick insects belong to Phasmatodean Family. Other insects that also belong to the same family are leaf insects, ghost insects, and walking sticks. There are nearly two thousand and eight hundred species within the Phasmatodean family. The striking feature of this family is that the species have a body structure, which helps them to camouflage with the surroundings. Stick insects belong to areas having tropical climates and some of them have wings. Stick insects that are kept as pets can grow four inches and can live up to one year.
Among all the insects, which are kept as pets, stick insects are the most desirable. Some of the favorites are Indian stick insects; Vietnamese thorny stick insects and pink winged flying stick insects. They are desirable because they are low-maintenance and their unique appearance. Their surroundings in captivity should be similar to that of their native surrounding. The temperature and humidity should match almost exactly with their original habitat.
Also the food resources provided to them should be close to the foliage available to them in their natural habitat. Blueberries are among the most favorable foods of stick insects. Other than that, they can be given raspberry, ivy, oak, privet, oak and hawthorn. These insects can be kept in a vivarium or circular jar, which has some holes on the top. The length of the jar should be three times that of the insect and it should be tall in height. The holes shouldn’t be so big that the insect can escape from it. To be extra careful, a net can be placed over the holes, to completely prevent them from escaping. The vivarium can be filled with ivy, bramble and privet.
The temperature within the jar should be maintained around seventy to seventy-five degree Fahrenheit. At night the temperatures can be lowered to sixties. The humidity within the vivarium should be moderate. Stick insects are very fragile insects and should be handled with extra care. A covered water container can also be placed and the insect should be allowed to drink from it only under invigilation, as the animal can fall and drown in it.
Stick insects shed skin often, which they eat. When the insect shed for the sixth time, it indicates that the insect has reached sexual maturity. All of the Indian stick insects are female as they reproduce by parthenogenesis or the eggs are laid and they do not need fertilization by a male. Owners that are interested in breeding can spray water on the eggs and wait till they hatch. After eggs are hatched, offspring can be managed with the help of paintbrushes. Sometimes the tail has some remains of the egg, which can be gently brushed off with the help of the paintbrush. Also, care must be taken to not to leave pools of water as there can be a chance of insects drowning in them and dying. And owners that aren’t interested in breeding should completely destroy the eggs by boiling, burning, or crushing them.
These insects should not be left out in the wild, from captivity. Since they do not belong to the environment, there is a possibility that they can harm the ecosystem by reproducing young ones. Insects, which dwell in environments other than their natural habitats are known as pests. In United States, Indian walking stick insects are supposed to be plant pest. A special permit is needed to import them.