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What insects make best pets for kids

What insects make best pets for kids

If you aren't afraid of creepy crawlies an insect as a pet can be wonderful. They are definitely "exotic," are quiet, clean, and don't need a lot of attention. All these characteristics make themgreat with kids, but not all are appropriate insects for kids. Check out this list of recommendations and see what the best fit for your family is.

Extatosoma tiaratum
a stick insect also known as the Giant Prickly Stick Insect or Macleay's Spectre. They are native to Australia and the females can get up to 8 inches long with the males being about half that size. Females are preferred because they don't release the same stinky odor the males do in defense and are also easier for children to handle because of their size. You do need to be careful young children don't cause their legs to fall off. This species is only for older children who can be gentle. They can fly and eat a variety of plants found in the wilds of Australia including bramble and bayberry.
These are very cool looking sticks which is mainly why kids love them.

Phaenopharos khaoyaiensis
A stick insect from Thailand. They can grow to be 140mm long, eat plants like bramble and hawthorn, and need a very humid environment. These are very hearty-looking sticks but also require an older child who can be gentle with their legs.

They are also known as doodlebugs. These are the larval stage of Myrmeleontidae. They live up to three years before they cocoon themselves and emerge as a winged insect resembling a dragonfly. 

African Giant Millipedes
A large millipede. These millipedes are generally very calm, don't have long fragile legs that can snap off, and do well being handled, making them a good pet for little hands.

Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches
A large cockroach. Since these are sturdy insects, Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches are easy to handle and can live up to 5 years. They don't require a lot of space and groups of them are typically kept together.

Aretaon (Trachyartaon) species
A stick insect. This stick can grow to be 12 cm long if it is a female and is a thick stick. A good beginner stick with thicker legs.

Carausius morosus
The "original" stick insect. Also known as the common, Indian, or laboratory stick insect. These are usually found in classrooms and laboratories for a reason. They are easy to care for and females reproduce without a male. They eat privet, ivy and bramble, among other things.

Diapherodes gigantea
A green stick insect. Females can get over 6 inches long and are pretty docile sticks. If your child wants an insect that isn't brown or beige, perhaps Diapherodes is an option. Raising the nymphs can be a challenge but if you have an adult these guys are pretty hardy. The males are winged and much smaller. 

Aretaon asperrimus
They are also known as the Thorny Stick Insect. These are good beginner sticks with red-tipped thorns. They eat a variety of plants found in Sabah and Borneo such as ivy and bramble and need a humid environment.
Keep in mind all little pets require gentle hands. None of the aforementioned insects are capable of surviving a squeeze, and with the exception of maybe the cockroach, need to be sure they aren't dropped. Several types of sticks can be good insects for kids as long as they are a hearty or bulky species. Slow moving sticks are usually easier for children to handle as well. Since there are over 3,000 types of stick insects, I'm positive there are at least a few handfuls of stick species that are suitable for children to handle (gently).



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