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If you have never had a leaf insect before but have just got one (or are thinking about getting one) you probably don’t know too much about them. It would be no surprise then for you to have absolutely no idea what kind of food to give them. You could, for example, be wondering if you need to provide live food such as crickets, flies, or worms. Fortunately, these fascinating creatures have relatively simple tastes when it comes to their dietary requirements. Even better is the fact that you don’t have to buy any special food it; you can simply go to your nearest park, or even find its food right there in your yard (if you have plants).
Leaf insects like to eat fresh leaves. They are particularly fond of the leaves from the oak tree, rose plants, and bramble (the leaves from blackberry and raspberry bushes).
Do Leaf Insects Eat Privet?
Privet is a flowering plant that is native to North Africa, Europe, and Asia. It has been introduced and naturalized in North America and is widely used as a hedging plant. This might be a plant that is abundant where you live. Privet is commonly used as a food source for leaf insects.
So if you have privet bushes near to where you live, you could try introducing the leaves as a food source for your leaf insect. Make sure you wash the leaves first, especially if the hedging is near to a road. Fumes from passing cars could be toxic to leaf insects if they ingest the particulates that have settled on the leaves.
Note that leaf insects will only eat food that they like, and which is not harmful to them. This means you can basically experiment with different types of leaves to see which ones your leaf insect does and does not like. It’s easy to tell if it is eating the leaves as you will see the tiny bite marks.
Do Leaf Insects Eat Ivy?
Ivy is another plant widely found in the U.S. It is a climbing plant that is often found in gardens or climbing on the front of houses. Ivy is a good food source for leaf insects, who enjoy the dark green leaves of this abundant plant.
As not all leaf insects enjoy the same types of food though, it is best to experiment with plants that you can find near to your home. Look for leaves that are available all year round and see what your insect likes.
Do remember though that leaf insects will only eat fresh leaves, so you will need to place the leaves into a container of water to stop them from wilting. Be sure to cover the water container with a mesh to prevent any nymphs (young leaf insects) from falling in and drowning.
When choosing leaves for your leaf insect, look for dark green, older leaves as they tend not to like young bright green leaves. If you have nymphs, you will need to tear the edges of the leaves first as they cannot bite through on their own when they are very young.
Do Leaf Insects Eat Each Other?
The downside of looking like a leaf is that you might end up looking like food to another insect that likes to eat leaves. Leaf insects have been known to bite each other accidently, so it is not recommended that you keep leaf insects and stick insects in the same tank as the stick insects may try to eat the leaf insects if their food runs out!
- Featured Image (Phyllium bioculatum): Public domain.
- Phyllium giganteum: Drägüs – This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.
- Phyllium westwoodii: Daniel Dittmar – This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.
- Phyllium jacobsoni: Drägüs – the copyright holder of this work released this work into the public domain.