Unfortunately, however, as soon as we got them home about half of the little beasts dropped dead. How do you tell if an insect that tends to stay still most of the time is dead? Well, all you have to look for is the most clichéd signs: these critters chose to show their deadness in the most helpful way i.e. by lying on their backs with their feet in the air.
I'm not sure exactly why but it may have been the lack of food and moisture (it took a while to figure out the best conditions for them). Or it may simply have been a case of Darwinian natural selection - only the toughest stickiest stick insect can survive our household it seems.
I've become quite attached to them, and find them almost more interesting than our hamster (although he wins hands down when it come to cuteness). Being nymphs, they are still growing and apparently this particualr species – Eurycantha calcarata (I think) or New Guinea Stick Insect – get quite big so that's something to look forward to. Or be terrified of. They are pretty fierce-looking for harmless insects.
Hopefully the remaining survivors will live a long life (for their species anyway). After all, I've raised two human children of my own and they seem to be doing OK so far.