How to Care for Walking Sticks

How to Care for Walking SticksStick insects or walking sticks as they are also known are bugs that mimic tree branches. Bred and born in a variety of sizes and shapes, walking sticks can grow up to 11 to 18-inches in length with a ½-inch diameter. Females are generally longer in length than males. As of February 2010, there are over 3000 species in the world. You can find walking sticks in wooded areas and trees. Walking sticks can be kept at pets, but a moderate amount of attention is required to ensure proper care.
 

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Aquarium
  • Leaves
  • Lettuce
  • Water dish
  • Water
  • Sticks
  • Mesh
 
Step 1
House your walking sticks in a plastic aquarium. Walking sticks must hang down from their food plants to shed and regenerate their skins, so choose an aquarium at least three times the adult length of a walking stick. Ventilation requirements vary, but species such as Carausius morosus require a fairly open enclosure. (Add a mesh lining to prevent the insects from escaping.) Keep species such as the Epidares nolimetangere in a totally sealed aquarium. The level of humidity and temperature range required for each species varies, so research your species in advance.
Step 2
Maintain the right temperature. A temperature of 77 degrees F is ideal for most walking sticks; however the Indian stick insect (Carausius morosus) requires a temperature of 62 degrees F. Use an electric light bulb over or near the cage to achieve the optimum temperature if you cannot heat the entire room.
Step 3
Feed your walking stick a handful of vegetarian selections three to four times per week. The leaves of bramble, blackberry, apple, mulberry, dandelion and raspberry are ideal choices. Wash with water or take from a location away from major road ways to ensure all plant food is free of pesticides. Make sure your walking sticks always have fresh food available.
Step 4
Add a small water dish for adults. Place a piece of lettuce inside the dish to keep the water fresh and to avoid drowning, which is common for small and growing walking sticks. Use a mist spray to hydrate baby walking sticks. Change the water daily.
Step 5
Provide small sticks for climbing. Size is not important, but the sticks must be free of pesticides. Walking sticks are most active at night.
Step 6
Clean the aquarium of excrement weekly. Walking sticks excrete a substance known as phasmid exusions. Use a gentle detergent to clean this substance from your walking sticks as well as the inside of the aquarium. Wear gloves during this process. Rinse with warm water, and use a piece of cotton to pat the insects dry.
 

Tips & Warnings

 
For easy cleaning, use a liner at the bottom of your cage. Use as directed and remove the liner weekly.
 
Carry your walking stick from a wooded area to your home in a carton. Add sticks and leaves and vent the carton by piercing it with rows of holes at the top and sides.
 
Avoid handling your walking sticks too much. Many stick insects are not fond of being touched. Wear gloves at all times. Walking sticks are prone to biting.
 
You must remove your walking stick from its aquarium before cleaning it.

Article Written By Charlie Gaston

Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.

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