The animal ambassador for the month of November is our Indian walking stick, Twiggy (and friends). These walking sticks are insects and belong to the Order Phasmatodea. Walking sticks have six legs and an exoskeleton. These bugs are so cool because they are excellent at using camouflage to blend into their surroundings! They range in color from a very dark brown to a bright green. Younger sticks are usually brown and then change to green as they get older.
These walking stick insects can be the perfect pets. The advantage of having a walking stick as a pet is that they don’t smell, they eat lettuce, and they can’t infest your house – meaning you don’t have to worry if they escape. These insects also have the life span of approximately one school year, so you aren’t signing up to take care of something for 10 years or more. The Indian walking stick usually doesn’t get larger than 4 inches so they don’t take up much space. If you decide to own a walking stick, there are warnings that you must learn first.
Number one is to never release a walking stick into an area it is not native to. The risk of it reproducing and causing damage to an ecosystem where they aren’t usually found is high. In order to avoid this from happening, never release your walking stick into the wild and make sure that all eggs (if present) are disposed of properly.
Indian walking sticks like Twiggy are native to Southern India. Although it’s unsure when these insects came to California, it is known that they have flourished as a result of their escape from captivity or through the improper discarding of eggs.
Twiggy is a super great addition to the Zovargo team because it allows us to teach our audience about conserving our natural environment.