• Size

    Up to 8 inches (20 cm) in length
  • Diet

    Diet consists of leaves
  • Range

    Occurs naturally in Australia and New Guinea
  • Habitat

    Found primarily in eucalyptus trees and forests

Physical Characteristics

  • A very large, ornate walking stick insect.
  • Color and shape of the body camouflage patterns can change slowly to best match the environment. Males are smaller and slimmer-bodied than females. Both sexes have wings, but in the vast majority of cases, only the males are light enough to fly effectively.
  • Up to 8 inches (20 cm) in length.

Animal Fact

One defense of the giant prickly stick insect is spraying a chemical deterrent. This chemical deterrent is off-putting to most predators, but to humans is surprisingly pleasant. Anecdotally, the scent is similar to toffee or chocolate.

Diet / Feeding

  • Herbivores; diet consists of leaves, those in their natural range will subsist solely on eucalyptus leaves.

Range / Habitat

  • Occurs naturally in Australia and New Guinea, though bred for home terrariums and hobbyists all over the world.
  • Found primarily in eucalyptus trees and forests.

Reproduction & Growth

  • Eggs resemble seeds, and are encased in a protein-rich layer. Spider ants collect the eggs and bring them back to the colony, where the outer layer is eaten and the rest of the egg is left in a refuse area.
  • Once the egg hatches, the nymph, resembling a spider ant, is able to quietly leave the colony unbothered and climb into the trees.

Conservation Status

  • “Not Evaluated” on the IUCN Red List.

Additional Information

  • Like all walking sticks, the level of camouflage displayed by the giant prickly stick allows it to become virtually invisible to passing creatures – with the exception of natural predators like mantids.
    • Defenses include flying away (males) and rearing into a scorpion-like threat posture (females) and spraying a chemical deterrent (both).
    • This chemical deterrent is off-putting to most predators, but to humans is surprisingly pleasant. Anecdotally, the scent is similar to toffee or chocolate.
  • This species is also known as the Australian walking stick.
  • Many species of walking sticks can regenerate lost limbs.
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