Stick insects have become popular pets among insect lovers all over the world. They make low-maintenance pets that are easy to care for, make no noise, and are fascinating to watch.
Stick insects have some similarities to praying mantises, but there is one huge difference: Praying mantises are carnivores, while stick insects are herbivores.
As a whole, stick insects do not eat each other. They are normally non-aggressive, docile plant-eaters. Their diet naturally only consists of different leaves. If stressed, they might show aggression towards each other or other unusual behavior.
Stick insects are normally not aggressive towards each other and have no interest in eating each other. Praying mantises on the other hand are known for attacking and eating each other and can only be kept as individuals after the first few molts.
Stick Insects can be kept as groups in an enclosure. They do need some space and should not be crammed in an enclosure, but they would never eat each other, no matter how small the space is.
It is important to state, that stick insects need enough space, proper temperature, humidity, and suitable leaves to thrive.
Under the wrong conditions, walking sticks might show unusual behavior due to stress and attack or even eat each other, but this has nothing to do with their natural behavior.
Stick Insects are herbivorous and are not even able to process meat. If you see a walking stick eating another walking stick, this is probably the worst sign for their conditions that you can observe.
With the right conditions, cannibalism will never happen.
What Do Stick Insects Eat?
Depending on the species, walking sticks can be fed with different leaves. Some species are monophagous and only feed on a single kind of leave, some are oligophagous and can feed on a few different leaves, and many of the popular pet stick insects are polyphagous and can be fed with a wide variety of leaves.
Popular leaves that stick insects eat are bramble, raspberry, hazel, oak, ivy, hawthorn, rose leaves, and eucalyptus. The diet highly depends on their natural environment. Always make sure that the leaves are pesticide-free before you feed them.
You can offer your pet stick insect a variety of different leaves and find out, what it likes the best. Walking sticks will only eat the leaves that are good for them, so you don’t have to worry about poisoning them.
But the leaves should only be picked from areas where no pesticides are used.
Can Stick Insects be Kept Together?
It is possible to keep several individuals together, as long as the enclosure is big enough. Only individuals of the same species should be kept together.
In some species, the nymphs need different conditions than the adults. If nymphs need significantly higher humidity or temperature, it is better to keep them in a separate enclosure to be able to provide the correct conditions for every insect.
As a whole, it is possible to keep stick insects of the same species together, as long as they all thrive under the same conditions. In some cases, it is better to keep nymphs and adults in a different enclosures to provide the best settings for every individual.
The majority of stick insect species that are kept by hobbyists can be kept together. Walking sticks are docile, non-aggressive creatures by nature and tend to hide or startle predators instead of attacking them.
The bigger the enclosure, the more stick insects can be kept together. It is important, that every individual has enough space to molt without hitting another individual or any decoration.
Lisa is one of the two founders of Animal-Knowledge. She has been very interested in animals and insects from a very young age and has owned different kinds of pets such as snails, ants, fish, turtles, mice, rats, hamsters, rabbits, a dog, … you get the idea 🙂