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Spiny Leaf Insects

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 10:42 AM

Hi, just a quick question. In getting DS1 some leaf insects for his birthday. He has a massive fasination for all bugs so I thought they would be a good pet for him..

My question is What should i put on the bottom of the tank? plain normal dirt? or is there somethig specific i need to buy for it?


#2 girltribe4

Posted 13 April 2012 - 10:48 AM

My daughter just puts a piece of kitchen towel on  the bottom of her tank as it makes it easy to just scoop all the pooh up biggrin.gif

#3 ritten

Posted 13 April 2012 - 10:48 AM

I have had stick insects in my class before (same family as spiny leaf, same care etc,..) and we were AMAZED at how much they poop! seriously everywhere!

Because of that we ended up just lining the base of cage with butchers paper so we could clean it out easily.

They didn't really spend much time on the ground anyway until they were literally dying, as they spend all their time in the branches.  We had so many branches/twigs in cage that you could hardly see the base of cage.


Posted 13 April 2012 - 10:51 AM

How do you clean the tank out with out losing or hurting any of the bugs? i

#5 SofaSpud

Posted 13 April 2012 - 10:52 AM

Hi, great idea, they are awesome pets! I have had the stick type though not the leaf type but yes just plain dirt is all I used and I also broke eucalyptus branches off our tree to put in there every few days for them to eat the leaves and climb the branches and hide in. They are so low maintenance.

#6 ritten

Posted 13 April 2012 - 10:55 AM

I actually NEVER touched the bugs. they totally creep me out! lol

I got the preschoolers to do it original.gif  

I would take all of the branches out of the cage (we had a cage once they were big enough not to escape) an put them in  a washing basket.

we then removed paper, cleaned tray and replaced paper.

If we needed to we then replaced the branches with newer ones and then the preschoolers either transferred the bugs bag by hand, or if it was just me,  I just gently lifted the branch they were on and let them climb onto new leaves.

If you are trying to pick them up, let them climb onto you/stick/etc..rather than pulling, lifting them off branch, as they have a strong grip, and you don't want to hurt them - pull leg off etc..

good luck!


we had to clean and change quite frequently as the children ALL liked to take turns at spraying the leaves with water for the bugs to drink - the paper etc.. got pretty soggy.

Edited by ritten, 13 April 2012 - 10:57 AM.

#7 SofaSpud

Posted 13 April 2012 - 10:57 AM

QUOTE (MUMxTHREE @ 13/04/2012, 10:51 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
How do you clean the tank out with out losing or hurting any of the bugs? i

Yes you just have to be careful, I did injure one once and sadly it didn't live long after that. They are quite fragile. After that I was always careful and they were always fine.

#8 Kat5

Posted 13 April 2012 - 11:14 AM

We've kept dozens of stick/leaf insects, several different kinds and have a pretty good system.

I agree that butchers paper or newspaper is the best liner for the bottom (def not dirt!). Once a week or so you just carefully remove the paper and replace it with a clean sheet. It also allows you to determine the poo from the eggs. Once your insects start laying, you could be harvesting quite a lot of eggs that will fall down with the poo. Inside the cage, it is easier to have a main branch (we use one in a twisted V shape) that is very solid and free from leaves...you can keep this in your cage and drape other smaller leafy branches on top of it. Remember that stick insects like to climb and the height of the cage is more important than the width original.gif.

When transferring them, do it on branches, or wait for them to climb onto you.
When spraying water, never spray it directly onto them, only onto the leaves. Otherwise you can risk spraying water into their breathing system and kill them. You should also remove them from the room when using the vacume so that the dust doesnt do this as well.

Good luck! They are amazing creatures and are pretty low maintenance pets. My kids have learned so much watching them grow, moult, lay eggs and transform before our eyes...well worth it original.gif.

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