Other common names: Indian Stick Insect; Walking Stick; Laboratory Stick Insect
Scientific name: Carausius morosus
The Indian Walking Stick is a species of phasmid that is native to Tamil Nadu, in southern India, but which has now been naturalized in many other locations worldwide. Indian stick insects are parthenogenetic, which means they can reproduce without mating.
The Indian Walking Stick is perhaps the most commonly kept stick insect. They are quite easy to keep, and feed on plants like privet, ivy and brambles.
Appearance / health:
The Indian Walking Stick ranges in color from a dark-brown to bright green, with the younger stages usually being browner. The "armpits" of the front pair of legs are red in adults. Walking Sticks take 4-6 months to grow from a first instar stage, which is about 1 cm long (1/2 inch), to an adult of about 10 cm (4 inches).
Behavior / temperament:
When disturbed the major defense method is feigning death, the body becoming rigid, and the legs held along the line of the body. Feeding occurs at night, when the insects are active. During the day they rest (often with legs in line with the body) on their foodplants.
They need to be kept in a cage around 25 cm in height to allow for successful molting. Depending on the number of stick insects, enclosure size will vary. A 2-5 gallon enclosure is suitable for 1 adult stick insect. If there are more than one, enclosure size needs to grow and can range from a 10-15 gallon tank. The tank must be ventilated. Baby and younger stick insects can live in smaller enclosures that are ventilated. Whatever they are being housed in should have more height than floor space as they are always climbing.
Includes many plants, but chiefly bramble and ivy in captivity. This is a species that has established in California, USA. Care must be taken to prevent escapees of this exotic species.
Indian stick insects are almost all female with only a few male and these males are not needed for reproduction. They reproduce by parthenogenesis and seem content living on their own. All stick insects moult and may eat the shed skin. By the sixth moult the Indian stick insect will lay eggs.
novelty, lowmaintenance pet, easy cleaning, great beginner insect, school age child
animal escape outdoors
leaf eaters, fitted mesh lid, eggs
Twiggy and other stick related names
I got a stick insect in 2000 aged 5, because my mum was not convinced that the cat I wanted would be well looked after by me. Twiggy, Sticky, and the eight other stick insects named by myself and my brother were plonked into a plastic container which had airholes etc on top and we used to fill it up with all sorts of leaves etc.
Stick insects, as virtually everyone under the sun may have guessed, are not exciting to look at and indeed sometimes we couldn't look at them. By the time the last stick insect died we had counted eight of them to their deaths - meaning two were never accounted for but not still there... However they were always pretty docile, wandering up and down your hands and never did anything unpredictable - a brilliant quality if your considering this pet for a small / young child. I would imagine they would also, if a child was begging for an insect such as a spider for a pet, give you an idea of how having an insect for a pet feels, quite literally and also generally.
We used to get them out whenever we wanted them, and they would never act any different or seem bothered by it. Indeed we used to play a game of how many sticks could we get them to walk across in periods of time, for hours on end, and they were very tolerant of it all. They were also very easy to keep; stick insects don't really get any easier and a quick google of how to look after stick insects reveals the things you need to know and do - things you can count on one hand. Equally they never got sick as far as we know and they lived out their lifespans of around 18 months very happily - we had a series of them. The beauty of this is (a) you don't have the vet bills and (b) without being rude you don't get too attached to them and so it wasn't as heartbreaking as when, say, my cat died.
Finally they are medium on the activity levels - they would happily wander from stick to stick, but also stay still, everything was done at a leisurely pace but they moved fast enough to be fun to watch. We did try stick insect racing once across our ten meter patio and soon got bored when it became apparent they weren't gonna be done for a good hour.
In conclusion then I would say that stick insects are ideal as a first pet - as long as your child generally likes bugs - and they are cheap, easy, and can actually be a lot more fun than you would think a stick with legs could be..
From hellyeahlydia Sep 5 2014 3:17PM
Indian Walking Sticks
We've kept many of these stick insects over the years, and have successfully hatched them and passed the eggs on to friends and family. They're ideal pets for children, fascinating to watch and easy to take care of. That said, like with any pet, parents should expect to do most of the looking after.
They're pretty easygoing when it comes to their housing. The main requirement is that they need enough vertical space to be able to hang down in order to moult. Without enough height in the terrarium or net cage, they may die or become deformed during the moulting process.
Our stick insects have been fed mostly on bramble leaves, since we have a plentiful source of these in our overgrown garden. You can also feed privet or ivy leaves.
Be aware that once you're successfully keeping stick insects, you need to have a plan for how to deal with the many eggs that your happy females will lay. Parthenogenetic reproduction means that females will lay eggs regardless of the presence of a male. It's illegal to release these non-native insects into the wild in the UK, so you could potentially have hundreds of babies to deal with. For a while, my children had quite a thriving business selling the eggs to friends and family.
Photo credit: By Anagoria - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28081100.
From LittleBrownFrog Apr 13 2016 4:38PM
When I was a little girl, I saw an ad from someone giving away stick insects. I figured that would be awesome. I got 2, at first, they were nice and small, but soon enough they got bigger. Besides the fact I was starting to get scared of them, there was another problem. They lay a lot of eggs and by a lot, I mean a LOT. I kept apart the eggs, obviously I didn't want to kill any creature, but in no time, I had hundreds of walking sticks. It's easy to feed them and keep them alive, but because the eggs continued hatching, they drove me crazy and I had to let them go into the forest..
From richelle123 Jul 13 2014 1:31PM