Zoo Day: Walking Stick Insect - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Zoo Day: Walking Stick Insect

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Neither furry or cuddly, Friday's Zoo Day guest was a Walking Stick insect!

Walking sticks are leaf eaters that thrive in tropical areas where they can find the two things they need most: 1) lush leaves to eat and 2) protection from predators via their amazing ability to camouflage themselves as sticks or leaves.

The largest species of stick insects are found in the forests of Southeast Asia and Australia, and some of the largest species can be nearly 2 feet long.

Walking sticks develop through a process of gradual metamorphosis. Females lay eggs that hatch into nymphs (tiny versions of the adult insects), and the nymphs then grow by shedding their exoskeleton several times over the course of several months.

During this growth period they spend almost all their time eating, and while eating they're surrounded by branches and leaves, which make them almost invisible to potential predators such as birds and reptiles.

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