Leaf insects are able to camouflage themselves as leaves. They are very delicate, and so should be handled sparingly. Leaf insects can be kept as pets in cages that are at least 30 cm in height. They are often kept in jars, although owners should be careful that condensation doesnâ??t build up in the jar, as that could cause the insect to drown.
This insect is found mainly in Australia and Southeast Asia. Close to one-fourth of the population of leaf insects live in the United States though. They are kept as pets in captivity quite often. When they are kept as pets, their environment should be warm to help the insects feel comfortable.
A leaf insect's diet consists mainly of eucalyptus leaves when they are living in the wild. When they are kept in captivity, they can live off of a diet of raspberry and blackberry leaves. Other plant leaves that these insects can eat include rose and photinia leaves. The diet of a leaf insect doesnâ??t need to be changed as they can live off of only blackberry leaves throughout their entire lifetime. rnLeaf insects do not eat their own young, although they have been known to eat the young of other bugs. These insects can end up eating each other by mistake due to their convincing camouflage as real leaves.
Other than food, leaf insects also need water to survive. They usually get their water from the plants that they eat. When they are kept in captivity, the leaves that are given for the insect can also be lightly sprayed with water, which allows the insect to drink as well as eat from the plant.
Food for Young Leaf Insects
Young insects are tough to feed because they are reluctant eaters. To help encourage leaf insects to eat, you can introduce older leaf insects to the cage, or you can try cutting the edges of the leaves you are feeding it to make it look fresher.
Feeding a Pet Leaf Insect
It is important when feeding a leaf insect that the food is checked for pesticides. The leaves should be washed and then placed in a jar of water to help them stay fresh. The jar should be covered with netting so that insects cannot fall into it and drown.
leaf walker image by Pat Lalli from Fotolia.com