Population crisis and hairy legs

I’ve got a population crisis in my stick insect habitat. It’s swarming with them now and there’s a range of sizes so this is more than just one lot of offspring. They’re breeding like rabbits and I’m not sure what to do with them all. There are so many that I can’t take the dead leaves out because there are stick insects all over them. I’ve thought about releasing some into the wild but it’s still too cold outside for that. Maybe over the summer?


I’m off to Spain next week which means I have to shave my legs. I hate shaving my legs. It’s cool enough here to wear tights virtually the whole year round but where I’m going the weather is already in the mid-twenties during the day which means summer clothing and stinky armpits. I could just brave it with hairy legs but I’m not prepared to deal with the backlash. Society expects women to shave their legs and I obediently obey. I’m just a pathetic, self-conscious sheep in the flock.

Good news! The apple tree I rescued from the school playground has buds.


4 thoughts on “Population crisis and hairy legs”

  1. You could release them in July and they might survive a couple of weeks. Not strictly legal (Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981) but no one would take issue because stick insects, being tropical/sub-tropical will perish quickly – if not scoffed by birds first. In the summer people often bring me in lethargic, fully grown Locusts – which I take pity on and house them for their last couple of months of life (I imagine they have been escapees from school science laboratories where, once their wings have grown, they leap and take off through the first open window!). Read your wild life blogs with interest. Enjoy Spain!



    1. Thanks, Keith! Do you know what the eggs look like? I was thinking I should try to find the eggs and, er, abort them before they hatch otherwise it’s going to get really out of control. I’ve thought of releasing them into my greenhouse but that gets very cold in winter so they wouldn’t last long in there either.

  2. Breeding insects can be tricky!

    At this point it’s probably going to be more than just a population crisis unfortunately. 😔 If there are so many of them, inbreeding is going to be a problem very quickly. By the time you start noticing the first visible mutations on some of the youngest individuals, the whole population will be a lot weaker because of inbreeding depression. It might be worth setting some of them free now and bringing in some new insects from elsewhere if you want to keep some of them.

    Or you could get a gecko!

    1. They may not be breeding. I was told they could be parthenogenetic which means females can lay eggs without requiring a male. I have no idea if this is the case. I can’t tell what sex they are or if they’ve been reproducing sexually. Stick insect sex is not my specialty 🙂 But if they are asexual then the inbreeding shouldn’t be a problem, right? A gecko sounds like a great idea! That will keep the population down.

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