Walking Stick Insect


The walking stick insect makes a captivating and instructive pet for the classroom or other educational venue, provided, of course, that it is not a species that sprays an acidic compound into your face and eyes. The Indian walking stick (Carausius morosus) may make a good candidate for a teacher's pet.

Advantages of a Walking Stick as a Pet

  • With the proper setup, a walking stick pet requires relatively little care.
  • It poses no threat of a venomous bite or sting.
  • It lives happily for as much as a week without attendance.
  • It eats commonly available plant foods.
  • It produces no offensive odor.
  • It molts, or sheds it exoskeletal shell, periodically, demonstrating a fundamental characteristic of insects.
  • It submits to (delicate) handling for educational demonstrations.
  • With a mate, it reproduces readily. Even without a mate, the female walking stick still reproduces, parthenogenetically, or asexually, although her eggs yield only female nymphs.


Walking stick on a window screen, in far western Texas.  Note the extended forward legs, which enhances the insect's twig-like appearance.

Walking stick on a window screen, in far western Texas. Note the extended forward legs, which enhances the insect's twig-like appearance.

A Home for the Walking Stick

While requirements will vary with the species, a walking stick will need a home that serves as a reasonable microcosm of its natural habitat. A walking stick, along with a few companions, may function well, for one example, in a 15-gallon glass or acrylic plastic aquarium that is at least 15 inches in height and is topped with a secure screen cover that will provide confinement but also ventilation. The Indian walking stick will feel comfortable at about room temperature (68 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit) and at moderate humidity. A walking stick's tank can be lined on the bottom with paper or with soil. The paper allows easy cleanup of the relatively dry waste. The soil facilitates burial of eggs (for those species that bury their eggs.)

Foods and Water

The walking stick will require a plant diet suitable for its species. The Indian walking stick, for instance, will feed on the leaves of various roses, ivies, pyracantha or even lettuce. The walking stick can be fed with fresh leafy stems from its preferred plants. The leaves and stems should be washed to assure that pollutants have been removed. They should also be misted with water periodically to assure that moisture is available to meet the insect's needs.

Breeding Walking Sticks

When a female lays her eggs, which will look much like small plant seeds, she may deposit them on the leafy stems, bury them in soil, or simply drop them to its cage's floor surface. You can leave the deposited or buried seeds in place, awaiting their hatching. You can collect the dropped seeds and leave them in a container of sand in a comfortably warm place to await hatching. Depending on the species and conditions, the eggs will typically hatch within two months to a year.


Before acquiring a walking stick insect for a pet, you should check with the appropriate federal, state or local agency for permitting requirements. You should have no problem acquiring a permit if you plan to use the walking stick for educational purposes.

You should do some research on the specific species you plan to acquire so you can provide the proper environment. This can make a good class project.

You should be careful when handling the walking stick, preferably nudging it onto the open palm of your hand rather than grasping it with your fingers. Otherwise, you can easily injure it by separating one or more of its delicate legs from its body.

You should be especially careful to keep the walking stick or its nymphs confined. If even one escapes, it could lead to an infestation and substantial plant damage in gardens and parks.

Common Questions About Walking Sticks


Share this page on Facebook:

DesertUSA Newsletter -- We send articles on hiking, camping and places to explore, as well as animals, wildflower reports, plant information and much more. Sign up below or read more about the DesertUSA newsletter here. (It's Free.)

The Desert Environment
The North American Deserts
Desert Geological Terms



DesertUSA Video Productions

The Black Widow SpiderView Video about The Black Widow Spider. The female black widow spider is the most venomous spider in North America, but it seldom causes death to humans, because it only injects a very small amount of poison when it bites. Click here to view video.

The Bobcat

The BobcatVideo available on this subject.
Despite its pussycat appearance when seen in repose, the bobcat is quite fierce and is equipped to kill animals as large as deer. However, food habit studies have shown bobcats subsist on a diet of rabbits, ground squirrels, mice, pocket gophers and wood rats. Join us as we watch this sleepy bobcat show his teeth.

Mountain Lion

The Mountain Lion
The Mountain Lion, also known as the Cougar, Panther or Puma, is the most widely distributed cat in the Americas. It is unspotted -- tawny-colored above overlaid with buff below. It has a small head and small, rounded, black-tipped ears. Watch one in this video.


Take a look at our Animals index page to find information about all kinds of birds, snakes, mammals, spiders and more!

Hot temperatures in the desertAre you interested in the temperatures in the desert?

Click here to see current desert temperatures!

DesertUSA is a comprehensive resource about the North American deserts and Southwest destinations. Learn about desert biomes while you discover how desert plants and animals learn to adapt to the harsh desert environment. Find travel information about national parks, state parks, BLM land, and Southwest cities and towns located in or near the desert regions of the United States. Access maps and information about the Sonoran Desert, Mojave Desert, Great Basin Desert, and Chihuahuan Desert.

Copyright © 1996-2018 DesertUSA.com and Digital West Media, Inc. - -