best pets for families

Which Insects Make the Best Pets?

4 Unlikely Insects That Could Be the Perfect Pet for Your SCV Home

Everyone loves their pets – coming home to them, playing with them, and watching them grow as members of our families. Many people are drawn to basic household pets such as dogs, cats, birds, and fish. However, it may surprise you that insects, while uncommon, are some of the best options for pets. For example, four insects could be great additions to your Santa Clarita home: praying mantids, stick insects, tarantulas, and scorpions.

Like all pets, every bug comes with a few special warnings – and we don’t just mean stings and bites. But we’ll get more into that below. Remember that some states have hardline restrictions about keeping certain bugs as pets, but the options we’ve listed today are all legal in California.

TL;DR Key Notes:

    • Praying mantids are docile pets with an average lifespan of six months. Caring for a praying mantis is relatively easy, but it’s important to construct a safe and sizeable terrarium before taking the plunge.
    • Stick insects are unique pets that live for about twelve months. Many people recommend this pet for beginner insect owners; however, stick insects are extremely delicate and shouldn’t be handled or removed from their terrariums outside of cleaning days. They also have very specific needs when it comes to their habitat.
    • A tarantula is a great pet for anyone wanting a buggy companion that can last 5-20 years. Tarantulas are docile and require minimal maintenance, but they aren’t meant for everyone! These big spiders bite and have small barbed hairs on their abdomens that can cause skin irritation.
    • Many different types of scorpions can be an ideal option for a first-time insect owner. They require minimal upkeep but are not meant to be held or played with due to that stinger. Take the time to research and figure out which scorpion works the best for your lifestyle.
Pet Praying Mantis

1. Should You Keep a Praying Mantis as a Pet?

Not many people know that praying mantids are closely related to cockroaches and termites. These docile insects do not pinch and are not venomous, making them perfect for households with small children. Praying Mantids live for an average of six months, making these little critters special for a short amount of time.

Caring for a Praying Mantis

These small bugs like to feed on crickets and small spiders. Care is relatively easy for these insects as their only major need regards temperature regulation in their enclosure. Praying mantids should be housed in a terrarium at least twice their size in width and three times their size in height. As for temperature and humidity, it depends entirely on the type of mantis you choose, so be sure to do a lot of research before making a purchase.

Install Door Sweep

Your Praying Mantis' Home

Praying mantids love to climb and be active around their area, so keeping a lush environment is important. If you are looking for a small insect pet that requires minimal care, a praying mantis is what you need!

A sponge can be used to hydrate your pet, or a simple light misting of their terrarium can do the trick.

Pet Stick Insect

2. Can Stick Insects Be a Great Pet?

Stick insects are exactly what they sound like: insects that look like sticks! These insects live up to one year, with Indian Stick Insects recommended for beginner owners.

However, if you want a pet to handle and remove from their aquarium often, a stick insect is not for you. These creatures are extremely delicate and can be injured very easily. Removing your stick insect will be necessary when cleaning their terrarium, but proceed with extreme caution.

Making Your Stick Insect Comfortable

Stick insects require their house to be three times their height for quality comfort. Stick insects like the temperature around 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit, so standard Santa Clarita room temperatures may work well for your pet. However, reptile heating pads can be an option if your house tends to get cold. You can place oak rose and hawthorn leaves inside their habitat to make your bug more comfortabl

Stick Insect Terrarium

Raising a Healthy & Happy Stick Insect

Red and blue bulbed heat lamps are available to provide your pet with adequate temperature, but white bulbed heating lamps and lights severely dry these insects and can be very harmful to them. Steer away from these options! Misting their leaves will provide needed water and help with humidity levels.

If, for some reason, you no longer want to keep your stick insect, do not release it into the wild. Stick insects proliferate easily and can damage the local ecosystem here in Santa Clarita.

Pet Tarantula

3. Are Tarantulas Hard to Take Care Of?

If you are looking for a buggy companion that will stay alive for longer than five years, this furry insect might be for you. Tarantulas can survive up to 5-20 years, with the females living longer than the males.

Can I Handle My Pet Tarantula?

Even though these insects live for a longer period of time, handling these creatures is not recommended. Tarantulas have small barbed hairs on their abdomens that can cause skin irritation and itchiness. ​​Otherwise, tarantulas tend to be docile, take up little space, and require very little maintenance as a pet.

Like any other animal, tarantulas bite when they feel threatened. These bites are venomous, so handling these pets is not recommended. The venom found in tarantulas is weak, and toxicity is rare. Still, it’s always important to thoroughly research tarantula ownership before bringing one into your home, especially if you have other pets.

Tarantula Habitat

Inside Your Tarantula's Habitat

When housing tarantulas, a secure lid is very important because these spiders are known for their cleverness in escaping their habitats. They like hollow logs, flower pots, and anything else they can turn into a hiding place. A comfortable room temperature is generally all that is needed for their comfort. That said, it is important to do further research on the care and upkeep of your specific type of tarantula.

Pet Scorpion

4. Do Scorpions Make Good Pets?

Scorpions come in many different types, shapes, sizes, and colors. But which ones make the best pets for a Santa Clarita homeowner? The Emperor Scorpion, Asian Forest Scorpion, and Desert Hairy Scorpions are ideal options for beginners and those looking for a simple start to a loving scorpion. These scorpions require minimal upkeep and a beginner level of care.

Can Pet Scorpions Be Handled?

Scorpions are not a suitable choice if you are looking for a pet to hold, cuddle, or caress. It is highly recommended that you don’t handle your scorpion, as they famously have a strong sting that is often compared to a bee. Considering people have differently bodily reactions to this sting, it is best to avoid handling them.

Scorpion Habitat

What Do You Feed Pet Scorpions? What About Their Habitat?

In general, scorpions eat a variety of insects. While it can vary depending on the type of scorpion you pick, many prefer crickets, roaches, mealworms, and super worms.

A scorpion enclosure should be made of glass with a firm closing and an escape-proof lid. Scorpions love to climb, so be sure to buy an adequately tall enclosure that gives your pet enough room to scurry around.

Unique Care and Research

Make certain to look up specific information about your scorpion of choice before making a purchase. These are living creatures with specific needs and natural defense mechanisms. Proper research will help you decide which species works best for your lifestyle and will be a great new addition to your home.

Got Uninvited Freeloaders? Keep Your Home Pest-Free with No Bugs

Your home will feel extra special and welcoming with your new favorite pet. However, not all bugs are meant to be pets (or even food for pets). It’s important for the health and safety of your family – including your new bug child – to keep your home pest-free. If you’re seeing some unwelcome intruders on your property, contact the Santa Clarita pest control technicians at No Bugs Termite and Pest Control Inc. today!

Dial (661) 294-0206 to schedule a free evaluation with the Santa Clarita pest control experts at No Bugs. We can inspect your property and create a safer space for your family members and pets.