The popularity of stick insects as pets is undeniable. Stick insects are easy to care for, fascinating to watch, and hardy enough to live in most environments as long as they are properly fed and watered. Speaking of food and water, one of the more common questions exotic pet dealers hear is, “can stick insects eat privet?”
Stick insects are herbivores. That means their diet consist of plant life. More specifically, stick insects prefer plant leaves more than anything else. So, can stick insects eat privet? Yes and no. It depends on the species you’re talking about. The good news is that most species kept as pets can eat privet.
Thousands to Choose From
Questions about stick insect diet engender all sorts of discussions about different species. There are approximately 3,000 stick insect species around the world. That is quite a lot. But as you may know, very few of those species are actually kept as pets. That’s helpful when you’re trying to figure out what to feed your pet.
When taken altogether, the thousands of stick insect species in the wild can be very picky eaters. Some species refuse to eat all but one or two different plants. Other species will eat just about anything that produces a green leaf. Still others prefer a small number of plants but, in times of emergency, will eat other plants as well.
All of this brings us to the previously mentioned privet. This leafy shrub is considered one of only a small number of plants nearly every kind of stick insect kept as a pet can eat. As to whether or not your pet will need it, that depends on whether more desirable food sources are available.
More about Privet
Privet is considered a flowering plant with about 50 different species. It is also a deciduous shrub, meaning it does not lose its leaves during the winter. It is found natively in many parts of Europe, North Africa, and Asia. It has also been carried around the world to North and South America, Oceania, and parts of Africa.
In the wild, most species of privet look more like small trees than anything else. Privet in Asia more closely resembles shrubs with flowers in a variety of colors. One of the nice things about privet is that most species are easy to care for from the arborist’s point of view. As such, municipal arborists in some parts of Europe and Asia prefer it as a street tree or shrub.
Privet is also used as a medicine in many parts of Asia. It is a staple of traditional Chinese medicine, being used as a treatment for gastrointestinal illnesses, sore throat, chapped lips, and more.
Feeding Privet to Your Stick Insect
As with most foods that stick insects eat, privet is found fairly easily in the wild. You just have to learn to recognize what it looks like. Those who do not live in an area conducive to wild harvest are advised to check with pet stores, lawn and garden stores, florists, landscapers, and others who might have access to privet on a commercial scale.
As for feeding, there is really nothing to it. You place a few branches in your enclosure along with some water. Check the branches every day just so you can keep an eye on how much has been eaten. An enclosure with multiple stick insects may require a new branch or two every day. By contrast, a single insect may take several days to consume new branches.
Stick insects normally will not eat anything that is naturally toxic to them. However, they have no way of identifying the presence of insecticides. So if you do choose to get your privet from the wild, make sure it comes from a location that is not close to roads, farmlands, or residential or commercial properties where insecticides may have been used.
Also make a point of washing the privet with cool water prior to putting it in the closure. Washing will get rid of any insecticide residue you may not be aware of. As always, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Can Stick Insects Eat Privet – The Conclusion
As you can see from this post, stick insects are extremely easy to feed. It is just a matter of finding out what species you have, what it eats, and how to get your hands on the food. Easy feeding is one of the things that makes owning a stick insect as a pet so enjoyable.
In conclusion to the question of can stick insects eat privet, most species of stick insects kept as pets can eat privet. On the outside chance that yours cannot, don’t worry about poisoning it. A stick insect that cannot eat privet will just not go near it. You will know soon enough. If your pet isn’t eating the privet you provide, assume that it never will. Try one of the other common stick insect foods, like bramble or rose.