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Bugs as Pets

Phasmids
Phasmid

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Phasmids, or stick and spiny leaf insects, need fresh leaves (usually eucalyptus) every few days and a spray of water every day.

Ants
ant

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Instead of containing sand or dirt, Fascination's AntWorks ($20, amazon.com) is filled with a nontoxic blue nutrient gel so that ants need no additional food or water. Catch your own ants, or order them by mail.

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach
Madagascar hissing cockroach

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The large, wingless Madagascar hissing cockroach can't bite or hurt you. Keep it in a tank with a heating pad underneath, and feed it fresh veggies, fruits, and dry dog food.

Crickets
cricket

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Like the sound of crickets? Get an adult male (females don't sing) and keep it in a ventilated aquarium. Crickets will eat each other if not well fed. Try lettuce and oatmeal.

Originally published in the June 2009 issue of Parents magazine.