Stick insects are some of the fussiest creatures in the insect world. They won’t eat food they don’t enjoy, even if the alternative means starvation. This is the reason you have to take extra care when it comes to what you give them.
There are a lot of questions online regarding the different foods that stick insects can potentially eat. So in this article discuss in depth whether stick insects are able to eat spinach. The short answer is…
Yes, some stick insect species will eat spinach leaves. To see if yours eat spinach, just put some in their enclosure and wait to see what happens. If they don’t like it then they will just ignore the leaves. They will also not touch it if it is harmful to their particular species.
For more advice and information on keeping and looking after stick insects, check out my ebook on Amazon click here (opens in a new tab).
What Do Stick Insects Usually Eat?
First of all, let’s look at what stick insects prefer to feed on in general.
The point you have to remember with any type of food is that stick insects will always demand fresh leaves. Any leaves that have been frozen or leaves that have brown edges will be ignored. They’ll only eat the succulent green parts, which is why stick insect owners need to replace the food in the enclosure regularly.
The second point is that what a stick insect eats will always depend on where they happen to be from. For example, stick insects native to Australia are able to consume eucalyptus leaves. On the other hand, stick insects from North America won’t be able to eat these leaves.
As you can see, you need to focus on what your species of stick insect is likely to encounter in its native environment. Which is why spinach is such a controversial issue. Most stick insects may have never encountered spinach before.
But we have this same debate over other things stick insects might eat, such as rose bush leaves, banana leaves, and bramble leaves.
So, Can Stick Insects Eat Spinach?
The majority of stick insect species will not be capable of eating spinach. Spinach doesn’t grow in every area of the world, including in many areas where hundreds of species of stick insects live.
Exotic stick insects especially will likely refuse spinach in all circumstances. But stick insects found closer to home may be a different story.
You need to do your research to find out whether your pet stick insect can cope with spinach. We’re going to take a look at how to do this and to make sure your spinach is served right.
How Should You Serve Spinach to Stick Insects?
Freshness is your main priority with spinach. Freshness means that your leaves shouldn’t be any older than a few days freshly picked.
This is the reason so many stick insect owners assume that their pet will not eat spinach. They might like spinach, but it’s just not fresh enough for them.
Know that a stick insect will starve if the food is not to its liking. They don’t act like dogs or cats in that they’ll eat practically anything available to them if they’re starving.
So here are you sourcing your spinach from?
Even fresh spinach could be dangerous to stick insects if you get it from the wrong places. Ordinary spinach from the supermarket could have been sprayed with pesticides to prevent it from being eaten in the fields. But the residue remains.
These chemicals are used to stop animals like stick insects, so serving it could kill your pet.
You need to choose your source carefully. Organic farmer’s markets are good options as these farmers only used organic means of growing, which assumes that they didn’t use insecticides.
When you’ve sourced fresh spinach leaves, you should be aware that they will go bad quickly. The answer to this is to soak them in a small vial of water in the cage. Allow the stems to rest in the water as stick insects are not good swimmers and may drown.
As well as keeping the leaf fresh, succulent leaves are how stick insects take in their liquids.
How Often Do You Need to Feed Your Stick Insect?
Stick insects are extremely picky eaters, but they eat surprising amounts when they encounter food they do like. A single serving of food could be consumed in a single day by a colony of stick insects.
Most of your time caring for your pet will be spent on giving them food. Try to time when you give them more food. Stick insects are nocturnal insects that tend to eat at night, so if you serve food in the evening expect the food to be largely gone by morning.
You should look to give your stick insects food at least once a day, so make sure you have a regular food source.
Furthermore, as we briefly looked at, you should put the stems of the leaves in water. On a side note, make sure you protect any nymphs against falling in the water. They’re not strong enough to pull themselves out and they will drown in a matter of seconds.
A small mosquito net with the stems placed between the tiny holes will keep your leaves succulent without risking your nymphs.
You can also use toilet paper, if you are careful, but we always recommend mosquito nets as they are a more foolproof option.
Experimenting with Your Stick Insects
If you want to test to see if your stick insect can eat spinach, all you have to do is provide them with some clean spinach free of insecticides and see if they will eat it.
Stick insects are smart so if they don’t like a food source they’ll just ignore it.
Make sure you don’t perform this experiment without any food sources you know they enjoy, otherwise you risk putting them in a high state of stress or, worse, starving them to death.
You can also skip this stage by typing in the species of stick insect online and doing your research. The chances are other stick insect owners have already done the hard work for you!
Last Word – Is Spinach Right for Your Stick Insect?
Stick insects that are native to an environment where spinach doesn’t grow are unlikely to enjoy spinach as part of their diet. But you can only find out by doing your research.
Whether you perform an experiment yourself or not, try to get some advice, either from the store you purchased your insects from or from another source.
They will be able to advise you on what they normally feed them and you’ll be able to follow suit.
Just make sure that you get your spinach from organic sources where they are free from pesticides and other toxic pollutants.