Unusual pets for the home - Phasmids or stick and leaf insects

Phasmids are stick and leaf insects. They are more common in the wild than you might think. Many people tend to overlook them because of their excellent camouflage. Occasionally they will fall from trees during windy weather, making them easier to find. Phasmids spend their days remaining motionless and looking just like sticks or leaves.

Phasmids are becoming popular as pets in the home, as they are easy to care for, fascinating to watch and can be maintained in groups. One of the common stick insects kept as a pet is the Spiny Leaf Insect, Extatosoma tiaratum. This is due to their large and bulky size and ease of keeping. They are quite happy living in an enclosure in the lounge room and being given a regular supply of gum leaves.

For details and information on keeping stick figures see "Bugs Alive" - available at the Melbourne Museum or any good book stores. This exciting new title, written by the Live Exhibits staff at Museum Victoria, is the first book on keeping Australian invertebrates. Bugs Alive! contains detailed descriptions including life-cycle, breeding and feeding) of over 90 species, as well as easy to follow instructions for housing and caring for your invertebrate. Stunning colour photographs and line-art are used extensively throughout the book to describe animals and their anatomy, as well as to depict construction of housing, feeding methods and special displays.

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