Rabbits don't like being picked up. The usual explanation given for that is that rabbits are prey animals and that being picked up gives them the feeling that they are about to be taken by a predator to die (as hawks pick them up in the wild in order to kill and eat them). However, according to that explanation, stick insects also wouldn't like to be picked up, right? Stick insects are also prey animals, and, in the wild, they are being picked up by birds who eat them. Yet I had two stick insects and both of them liked being held in a hand. Why?

1 Answer 1


Stick insects rely on camouflage to be uneaten. That means continuing to pretend to be a stick even when disturbed, More like the "play dead" response of some snakes and opossums than like rabbits, who will try to go unseen by holding still but which also rely on speed to get away from dangers.

There are many strategies for survival. Different critters have evolved to use different approaches. One size does not fit all.

(I'd grumble about this not really being a pet question, but there are people who keep rabbits as pets, and people who keep stick insects as pets, so I'm willing to consider it just barely in bounds. Others may disagree.)

  • So, you think my stick insects didn't actually enjoy being held? That they panicked then? Jul 20, 2023 at 10:18
  • Unless they were acclimated to it, which they may eventually have been, yes. Rabbits can get used to being held too, of course.
    – keshlam
    Jul 20, 2023 at 14:39
  • 2
    @FlatAssembler the stick insect probably has no way to understand what is happening
    – jsotola
    Sep 3, 2023 at 17:46

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