Phaenopharos Khaoyaiensis (Khao Stick Insect) – Care Sheet

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The Phaenopharos Khaoyaiensis is also referred to as Khao Stick Insect. It was originally found in the Khao-Yai national park in Thailand and is native to some tropical forests in Thailand and Bangladesh. It is a rather large, unpoisonous, and nocturnal species It has striking, but tiny red wings after reaching adulthood. Only females are known in captivity.

When a walking stick of this species feels threatened it will stop moving and pretend to be a twig. If you touch it, it will try to escape. If you grab it, it will show the bright red, tiny wings to threaten you. Don’t worry, this gesture is completely harmless.


This species only eats leaves and is polyphagous. You can feed your pet bramble, raspberry, hawthorn, hypericum, oak, and many other leaves. If you own Phaenopharos Khaoyaiensis you can offer them a wide variety of different leaves and try out what they like most.

You can remove whatever they ignore. Make sure to only feed leaves that are completely pesticide-free. Don’t worry about poisoning your stick insect with a plant they can’t digest. They will only eat what’s good for them.


This species is rather large and therefore needs a tall enclosure of at least 15 inches in height. Just like all Phasmids, this species will hang upside down in order to molt. It must not touch the ground while molting, otherwise, it might get stuck in the exoskeleton and cannot crawl out properly. This can lead to death.

The enclosure should have at least 3 sides closed with either plastic or glass. Even four closed sides and a mesh ceiling should be enough ventilation as this species needs rather high humidity. 

The substrate can be anything that retains and slowly releases humidity. Suitable substrates can be soil, sand, vermiculite, hummus, or even just a paper towel.


This species needs normal room temperature. Anything between 68° F (=20° C) at night and 77° F (= 25° C) during the day is fine. The temperature should not drop lower than 64.4° F (= 18° C).


The humidity in the tank should be between 70% and 85%.

This is rather high humidity and requires daily misting with some bottled spring water or dechlorinated tap water. You can spray a fine mist of water on the substrate, the glass or plastic walls, and on the leaves.

This does not only keep the humidity up but also allows the walking stick to stay hydrated by drinking the water from the walls and the leaves.


At first glance, this species might appear like the typical walking stick shape with a long, thin, and light brown body. But when threatened, this species will show its unique feature: Bright, shiny, red but tiny wings. 

This species is rather large with females of around 5 inches on average, but they can grow up to 7.8 inches in the wild. Only females are known in captivity, therefore it is not possible to say anything about the size of the males.


The lifespan of the Phaenopharos Khaoyaiensis is approximately 12 to 16 months. The females live 5 to 6 months until they reach maturity.


Only females of this species are held in captivity and they reproduce parthenogenetically, without a male partner. But it is assumed that males exist in the wild and they reproduce sexually in nature.

Asexual reproduction does not require a male. The female lays unfertilized ova (= eggs) that will hatch. Parthenogenetic reproduction only creates female offspring.

Ova, Incubation Period

The females will drop their eggs on the floor. If you want to control the population you can use a white paper towel on the ground of the enclosure to be able to see the ova.

If you want to incubate the eggs, you should leave them under a thin layer of dry forest moss at room temperature. It will take around 4 – 6 months for the nymphs to hatch. 

Overall Difficulty Rating

This species is very easy to keep and care for. It makes a great beginner pet, even for children.

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