Rearing Stick Insect Page 2

FEEDING YOUR STICK INSECTS

·  Nymphs should be provided with tender foliage of Eucalyptus, which needs to be replaced every five to seven days.  Eucalypts can be distinguished from other plants such as wattles by their sickle shaped or blade-like leaf with a single vein running down the centre.  Place long stems of the plant in a vase of water and place inside the enclosure.  Eucalyptus can soak up a lot of water, so check the vase daily and top up when needed.  As long as they have a ready supply of fresh leaves, the insects require no other source of water.

·When replacing plant, gently move the nymphs onto the new foliage (See tips for correct handling).  But be careful!  These insects are masters of disguise and it is quite easy to throw them out with the old plant.  Make sure you do a head count at the end!

·Try a few different types of Eucalypt, to see which one the stick insects prefer.  If you are unsure if your stick insects are eating the plant, place a sheet of white paper under the vase for the day.  The presence of droppings indicates that they are feeding.

·Nymphs will shed their skin (known as moulting) 5 times during their life.  During this process, the old skin is shed, leaving a new, larger skin, which provides them with the room they need to grow.  The new skin takes a while to harden, and nymphs should not be handled during this time.

CARING FOR ADULTS
·Some species of Australian stick insects may grow to an adult length of 20 to 30cm.  The time for these insects to reach this stage may take several weeks or months, depending on temperature, humidity and the quality of the food plant.
·If you get a female stick insect, she will probably lay lots of eggs.  You can either release these under a gum tree or keep them for yourself and start the cycle all over again!

HANDLING YOUR STICK INSECTS
Stick insects are completely harmless and are lots of fun to handle. Follow these tips to ensure you don’t hurt your stick insects.

·Try to get the stick insect to crawl onto you, by placing your hand in its path.  Forcefully moving stick insects from foliage or clothing can cause them to lose limbs.
·Stick insects usually want to climb upwards
·Take care when handling winged adults, as they are inclined to take flight.
·Be careful not to handle moulting or newly moulted stick insects, as they are very delicate during this period.

Having problems?  Have a look at our Frequently Asked Questions about Stick Insects.

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