With so many different plants to choose from when it comes to feeding leaves to your stick insects, you will need to find out what type of plants they do prefer. The reason for this is that stick insects will simply not eat if their only source of food is something that they either do not like or which may be perceived as harmful.
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Can I Give Stick Insects Any Leaves?
In theory, yes you can but that does not mean they are going to eat it. You can literally place any type of leaves in the enclosure to test if they will eat them. If they do like the leaves, you will be able to see that the sticks have been eating them. So, do stick insects eat gum leaves?
The short answer is yes, some species of stick insect will eat gum leaves as part of their diet. Those that do not will simply ignore any gum leaves placed into their enclosure.
But to go more in depth as to whether stick insects eat gum leaves, it is worth considering what gum leaves are and where they are found. Gum leaves come from the eucalyptus tree, of which most species of this genus are found on the continent of Australia (and where many species of stick insect are also found).
Gum leaves, then, are commonly eaten by stick insects native to Australia. Fortunately for stick insect owners in that neck of the woods and indeed wherever else these types of trees grow is that almost all eucalyptus plants and trees are evergreen. This means that they are available all year round. And because stick insects typically prefer leaves that are a darker green, gum leaves are a good food source for those species that do eat them.
What you should be aware of however is that when it comes to eucalyptus trees, the leaves are often quite high from the ground, meaning a ladder may be necessary to access them.
How to Select Gum Leaves
The fresher the leaves look, the longer they will last in the tank, so always pick the freshest, greenest looking leaves you can. If you have easy access to gum leaves, be sure that they are free from chemicals and insecticides. Even car fumes can be toxic for stick insects, so try not to pick any leaves that are too close to a main road (or industrial estate). At any rate, it is best to wash any leaves you have harvested under clean water before placing them in the enclosure.
Bearing in mind what I mentioned earlier, rest assured that stick insects will only eat leaves that they like and know are not harmful to them. So basically, if you place a food source in the tank that is potentially toxic to your sticks or else is something they do not like, they will just not eat. However, the downside to this is that it is important to ensure your stick insects are eating the leaves you have presented them with. If they are not eating, you will need to find an alternative food source. When it comes to stick insects, trial and error with various plants is the best method for finding the perfect food source.