Stick Insect FAQs

Table of Contents

Introduction

In the section of my site, you will find articles that cover the most frequently asked stick insect related questions. 

What’s the difference between Indian stick insect eggs and poop?


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Indian stick insect eggs do look similar to their poop. However, the main difference between them is that the eggs have a pale-yellow dot on them whereas the poop is brown all over. The eggs are tiny and are typically only around 2mm in size, which can make them quite difficult to spot. Note though that there should be more poop than eggs, which may make it easier for you to differentiate between the two.

Are walking sticks poisonous to horses?

No, walking sticks are not poisonous to horses although there are some species that can be mildly toxic if ingested by a horse. The devil’s walking stick (Aralia spinosa) can cause contact dermatitis in a horse if it rubs up against it.

Where do walking sticks live?

Walking sticks live naturally on every continent except Antarctica. As a general rule though, stick insects live mainly in tropical climates and inhabit tropical forests or woodlands. They are usually found living on trees and are well camouflaged against predators by looking like sticks or twigs.

What is a walking stick bug?

A walking stick bug (or stick bug or bug stick) is another name used for a stick insect. There are many different species of stick insects; some are tiny while others are quite large in comparison. These insects are commonly found in tropical regions and live on trees. Walking stick bugs are named as such due to their stick-like appearance and ability to camouflage within their surroundings.

Do stick insects have blood?

Yes, stick insects do have blood, but it is different from human blood. In fact, insect blood lacks hemoglobin, the substance that makes human blood appear red in color. What we call insect blood is actually a liquid called hemolymph, which is clear or tinged with green or yellow.

Do stick insects hibernate?

No, stick insects do not hibernate, but they are nocturnal creatures and spend most of their days in an inactive state. Stick insects will also have inactive periods when they are mating or shedding their skin (molting). So while they are inactive during these periods, it is not the same as a hibernating animal that will sleep for very long periods of time.

Are stick insects vertebrates?

No, stick insects are not vertebrates. They are classed as invertebrates, which means that they do not have a backbone. Comprised of six legs, their body is divided into three parts: the head, the thorax, and the abdomen. They also have two antennae.

Are stick insects amniotes?

No, stick insects are not amniotes. Amniotes are a clade of tetrapod vertebrates that comprise of mammals, birds, and reptiles that lay their eggs on land or retain the fertilized egg within the mother. The confusion for many stems from the fact that like stick insects, amniotes successfully lay their eggs on land due to the protective membrane around the egg.

Are stick insects mammals?

No, stick insects are not mammals. Stick insects lay eggs whereas mammals give birth to live young. Stick insects are invertebrates while mammals are warm-blooded vertebrates that secrete milk to feed their young. Mammals typically, but not always, have fur or hair.

Are stick insects endangered?

Most species of stick insect are not endangered, but they are particularly at risk from pesticides, human intrusion, and destruction of their habitat. One species, the Lord Howe Island stick insect, is critically endangered though and attempts are being made by zoos around the world to save it from extinction.

Are stick insects invertebrates?

Yes, stick insects are invertebrates. In other words, they do not have a backbone. Instead they have a hard outer casing that covers their body. As with all insects, stick insects have a body that is split into three parts: head, thorax, and abdomen, as well as six legs and two antennae.

Are stick insects and praying mantis the same?

No, a stick insect is not the same as a praying mantis. It is very easy to confuse the two as they can be similar in color and found living near to each other. However, they are different species and vary in the way they feed, mate, raise their young, and generally survive.

Are all stick insects female?

No, not all stick insects are female, although parthenogenic stick insects do not require a male to reproduce. These parthenogenic stick insects lay eggs which, when hatched, are all clones of their mothers and therefore all female.

Are stick insects arthropods?

Yes, stick insects are arthropods. An arthropod is an animal that has a body made up of joined segments, no internal spine, and is covered with a shell or hard coating.

Are stick insects blind?

No, stick insects are not blind. However, their vision is quite poor so they rely on their other senses, particularly their sense of smell. It is by sense of smell that stick insects locate food sources while males can smell pheromones on the female when they are receptive to mating.

Are stick insects warm or cold blooded?

Stick insects are cold blooded, as are all insects. The body temperature of a stick insect is dependent on the temperature of their environment. When the surrounding temperature is cold, stick insects do not move much as they have very little energy. Conversely, when it is warmer they absorb heat, which gives them the energy to look for food.

Are stick insects carnivorous?

No, stick insects are not carnivorous. They are herbivores, which means that they only eat plant matter. Stick insects typically prefer leaves from plants such as bramble, privet, and ivy.

What are baby stick insects called?

Baby stick insects are known as nymphs. These nymphs hatch from eggs laid by mature female stick insects. Depending on the species, the eggs may or may not require fertilization by a male stick insect.

Are stick insects poisonous to dogs?

Most stick insects are not poisonous to other animals and defend themselves in other ways. However, the southern two-striped stick insect (Anisomorpha buprestoides) does spray a chemical when it feels threatened. This could be poisonous to a dog, particularly if sprayed into its eyes.

Are stick insects edible?

Stick insects are eaten in some parts of the world such as Papua New Guinea and Malaysia. Nevertheless, unlike other edible insects that are known to be quite tasty, the stick insect has been reported to taste very bland. It is for this reason that it is not a popular edible insect.

Are stick insects fast?

How fast a stick insect moves depends on the species and whether or not it is under threat. In general, stick insects do not move very fast at all and instead prefer to spend their time camouflaged on trees. A stick insect’s body is typically designed for camouflage rather than speed and efficiency.

Are stick insects hermaphrodites?

No, stick insects are not hermaphrodites as they do not have both male and female reproductive organs. Some stick insect species are parthenogenic though, which means that they can reproduce and produce nymphs from eggs that have not been fertilized by a male of the species.

Are stick insects invasive?

Some stick insect species are classed as possible invasive species and as such are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Therefore, some states in the U.S., for example, either prohibit keeping stick insects as pets or else require a permit.

Are stick insects made of wood?

No, stick insects are not made of wood. They are living creatures that can range in size from half-an-inch to thirteen inches long, depending on the species in question (there are approximately 3,000 different species of stick insect in the world).

Are stick insects rare?

With around 3,000 species of stick insects, you might not be surprised to find that some species are rarer than others. It might also surprise you to know that male stick insects are far rarer than females. This is because in many species of stick insect, the females can reproduce without their eggs being fertilized by a male. Any eggs hatched in this way will result in female clones of the mother.

Are stick insects related to scorpions?

Stick insects are not related to scorpions, but some species have been known to resemble them when deploying their defense mechanism. The giant prickly stick insect (Extatosoma tiaratum), for example, will mimic a scorpion by curling its tail upwards to ward off would be attackers.

Are stick insects solitary?

No, stick insects are not naturally solitary creatures, but this does not mean they cannot live alone. Because of how often they lay eggs upon reaching maturity, they very rarely live a solitary life. Nevertheless, there is no evidence to suggest that they could not live alone or that doing so would reduce their quality of life.

Are stick insects territorial?

Stick insects are generally docile creatures, but some can become territorial when they come across other species that they do not recognize. Stick insects of the same species tend to get along just fine together.

Do stick insects make noise?

No, stick insects do not make any noise. They are quiet, docile creatures that live in trees and shrubs and camouflage themselves to look like sticks. While some other insects can ‘scream’ to ward off predators, stick insects will sway from side to side to mimic sticks blowing in the breeze.

Do stick insects die after laying eggs?

No, stick insects do not die after laying eggs. In fact, some species of stick insect can lay hundreds of eggs during their adult life.

Do stick insects have a brain?

Yes, stick insects have a brain, like all insects do. In fact, some research suggests that insects may have a form of what we consider consciousness and, that despite their brain being tiny, the insect brain serves a similar function to the human mid-brain.

Do stick insects bleed?

No, stick insects do not bleed in the way that humans do, although some will reflex-bleed. This means that they emit a foul-smelling liquid known as hemolymph from their joints. This is done to ward off predators. Some species of stick insect often lose limbs as they molt, but when this happens, they do not bleed; muscles contract to close off the wound.

How do stick insects breathe?

As with all insects, stick insects have a network of tubes known as tracheae instead of lungs. The stick insect has a row of small, openings called spiracles, along its body through which air enters the tracheae.

Do stick insects carry diseases?

In general, stick insects do not carry diseases. They are like other insects and have immune systems that are very effective at fighting disease and illness.

Can stick insects climb grass?

Stick insects are often found living in grasslands and forests in tropical parts of the world. They can climb grass, but most can be found living in trees and shrubs where they can feed on leaves and pretend to be twigs or sticks if they feel threatened.

Do stick insects eat their mate?

No, stick insects do not eat their mate. In fact, some species of stick insect do not even need a mate to reproduce as they are parthenogenic. Those that do reproduce without a mate will lay eggs that will all hatch into female clones of their mother.

Do stick insects feel pain?

No, stick insects do not feel pain in the same way that humans do. This is because although they do have a nervous system, they do not possess pain receptors. They may instead feel an irritation if their bodies are damaged.

Do stick insects have feelings?

There is debate among entomologists as to whether or not insects in general can experience feelings or emotions. There has been research carried out with honeybees and fruit flies, which would suggest that insects may experience more feelings that we give them credit for.

Do stick insects get lonely?

There is no evidence to suggest that stick insects get lonely. They are not considered to be social creatures that need to live in a group, although those in captivity tend to live this way. They do not, therefore, get lonely (at least not in the way that we would understand it.

Do stick insects get cold?

Yes, stick insects can get cold if the temperature they are being kept in is too low. Stick insects tend to live in either tropical or temperate climates and are found on every continent except Antarctica. However, not all species require artificial heat when kept in captivity and those that don’t can live happily at room temperature.

Do stick insects have teeth?

Yes, stick insects do have teeth, but these are tiny microscopic teeth used for eating leaves. Stick insects are herbivores, meaning that they do not eat meat. They also do not bite humans.

Do stick insects have ears?

No, stick insects do not have ears. However, they can ‘sense’ sound through vibrations in the air.

Do stick insects have bones?

No, stick insects do not have bones like humans have. What they do have is an exoskeleton, which is a hard outer shell that protects their internal organs.

Do stick insects like the sun?

While stick insects like warmth, they are nocturnal creatures and tend to move about predominantly at night. In the wild, they are usually found hiding in the shade of leaves on trees during the day.

Do stick insects like being held?

No, stick insects do not generally like being held. They are very fragile creatures and should be handled with care. It is not uncommon for stick insects to lose limbs when handled without care.

Do stick insects live in England?

Although stick insects are not native to England, there are some species that have become established in certain parts of the country, including Cornwall, Devon, and the Scilly Isles. Over the last century, some species of stick insect from New Zealand have become naturalized in the UK.

Do stick insects need air holes?

Yes, stick insects need air holes to breathe, so any enclosure they are kept in should allow air to enter. The most appropriate type of enclosure is one made with plastic or glass walls with a mesh top.

Do stick insects need substrate?

No, stick insects do not need substrate but those who keep them will usually use some form of it on the bottom of the enclosure. This is because it makes it easier to clean the enclosure. The cheapest and easiest way to do this is to place a sheet of kitchen towel on the floor of the enclosure.

Do stick insects need light?

Yes, stick insects need light because they need a day/night cycle. They are nocturnal by nature and typically move about at night as this is the best way to avoid predators.

Do stick insects have organs?

Yes, stick insects have organs. They have a heart, digestive organs, and reproductive organs, among others.

Do stick insects poop?

Yes, stick insects poop in the same way that every other creature does in order to expel waste from their body. Stick insects poop quite a lot and, therefore, their enclosure will need regular cleaning.

Do stick insects pee?

No stick insects do not pee. All of their digestive waste is excreted at the same time in their poop and is not separated in the same way it is for humans.

Do stick insects like rain?

Stick insects live in tropical climates in some parts of the world, so are used to rain. If keeping them in captivity, it is important to spray the enclosure regularly with water to keep it humid.

Do stick insects sleep?

Stick insects do not have eyes so do not sleep in the same way that humans do. However, during the day, they tend to stay very still, which is when they are resting. They are nocturnal creatures that are most active at night.

Do stick insects smell?

No, stick insects do not smell. Those that are available to keep as pets are easy to look after and have no unpleasant smell.

Do stick insects use mimicry?

Yes, stick insects use mimicry, also known as camouflage, to survive. They imitate plants and sticks to keep them safe from predators.

How many eyes do stick insects have?

Stick insects have two eyes, but they do not have very good vision. Their eyes are known as compound eyes, which are great at detecting motion; this enables them to ‘see’ moving objects rather than stationary ones.

How many legs do stick insects have?

Stick insects have six legs, the same as all insects. They also have a body that is divided into three sections: the head, the thorax, and the abdomen.

How many babies do stick insects have?

Adult female stick insects can lay a lot of eggs! In fact, they usually lay between two and three per day which, over the course of their lifetime, can equate to between 100 to 1300 eggs! Not all female stick insects need a mate to reproduce; some lay parthenogenically eggs that hatch into clones of the mother.

Can stick insects get wet?

While it is okay to spray your stick insect enclosure with a fine mist to keep it moist and humid, it is important to ensure the sticks do not fall into any water container in the enclosure, particularly nymphs. Nymphs may not be able to climb out of a water container, so it should be adequately covered with a mesh netting to prevent them from drowning.

Can stick insects live with snails?

It is recommended that you keep snails and stick insects in different enclosures as they require different conditions. Snails need higher humidity than stick insects; if the atmosphere is too humid, your stick insects could die (obviously, this is species dependent).

Can stick insects see?

Although stick insects have eyes, it is thought that their vision is poor. They tend to rely on other senses to get around. Although their compound eyes are excellent at detecting motion, they cannot see clearly.