This fall we added a new pet to our daycare family.  ‘Twiggy” is a stick insect and the children and I have been learning about our new visitor.  First, we learned that most stick insects are female so we assume Twiggy is also – we won’t know for sure unless she lays eggs.

She was quite small, only about an inch long, when she arrived here.  She was brought by one of our daycare parents who had obtained her from a family friend.  Originally housed in a pickle jar we now have a small aquarium for her.

We feed her romaine lettuce which we know she loves since some mornings we notice she has eaten almost an entire piece over night.  Stick insects are nocturnal so most often she sleeps during the day.  Locating her in the aquarium is sometimes like playing “Where’s Waldo” since she is very adept at camouflaging in her environment.

It took us quite a while to pick a name for her.  During the first month she was here the children came up with many suggestions including;

Ariel, Chloe, Stick, Green, Woodstock, Willow, Floffy, Cedar, Twiggy, Clover, Bamboo, Freaky, and Iggy

Eventually we chose Twiggy as the favourite name with Willow coming a close second.  I was quite amazed by their creativity when it came to choosing a name.

Twiggy has moulted twice now and is almost three inches long.  The children and I are astounded by how quickly she expands after she sheds her old skin.  I managed to capture a few pictures of her last moult which occurred just before the children arrived one morning.  They were able to witness the final stages.

We particularly like the way she ‘dances’.  We’ve learned that this swaying and shaking is another one of her camouflage techniques as she imitates a branch swaying in the breeze.

So far we haven’t tried to hold her.  The information we’ve read states that stick insects don’t move quickly but I’ve seen the way she darts across the aquarium when I put my hand in there and I’m afraid we could loose her if we took her out.  For now we’ll just continue to watch and be amazed by our playroom companion.

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