To give a 9 year old boy a stick insect as a present (in a jar, not free)

(107 Posts)
pingu2209 Sat 02-Feb-13 13:27:02

From my son as the boy's birthday present.

I really thought the boy would like it, but other mum's looked aghast!

Pandemoniaa Sat 02-Feb-13 13:28:06

My heart would have sunk. But perhaps other people would be delighted if their dc received a living creature for a present. It is an unusual choice though.

wednesdaygirl Sat 02-Feb-13 13:29:04

Depends id like it but stuff like that creeps people out

5madthings Sat 02-Feb-13 13:29:15

Umm i wouldnt mind but i would check with mum of the bday boy tbh.

trixymalixy Sat 02-Feb-13 13:29:22

I would have been aghast as well. YABU.

TandB Sat 02-Feb-13 13:30:15

You really should have asked first. You have no idea what the mother's views are on keeping pets, or whether they've tried having pets before and it hasn't worked out. Someone in the family could be frightened of insects.

They'll also now have to fork out for somewhere for it to live.

I think it was a bit of a daft idea, to be honest. No better than handing over a goldfish in a plastic bag, which someone once did to my youngest SiL who then had to go and buy a tank for it.

Catsu Sat 02-Feb-13 13:30:43

You can't give a pet as a present! The boy probably did love it but the parents probably don't!
Even stick insects need spraying with water every day and a suitable tank to live in. If the family are away most weekend or something then they will have to be constantly asking people to look after the stick insect!
We had one, we are not pet people, we found it a pain

toomuch2young Sat 02-Feb-13 13:30:50

As its a living thing and will need feeding, it would be sensible to check with the parents first. They love privet to eat, I had a couple as a child and very easy first pet.
I'd imagine a 9 year old boy would be pleased with it.

gordyslovesheep Sat 02-Feb-13 13:30:51

you don't give animal to other peoples kids without asking surely?


Living creatures aren't presents. Its a big responsibility having a pet.

I don't think you should be giving living creatures as presents, particularly without prior discussion with the parents!

You're expecting the parents to take responsibility and the expense of an unplanned for pet.

Also, a jar doesn't sound like a suitable home for a stick insect (though I am not an expert).

pingu2209 Sat 02-Feb-13 13:32:18

Stick insects live in glass jars and eat hedgerow that has been dunked in water so it is a bit damp, so they aren't expensive.

However, I didn't think about people not liking insects. I was only thinking about the boy.

The mum did take it well, it was more other parents' reactions than the birthday boys' parents.

HoHoHoNoYouDont Sat 02-Feb-13 13:32:46


I would be absolutely furious at such an irresponsible present and given it straight back. Nothing against stick insects as such but we already have enough pets that fall to me to look after.

Pandemoniaa Sat 02-Feb-13 13:33:07

The mum did take it well

Not that well if her initial reaction was to look aghast, surely?

toomuch2young Sat 02-Feb-13 13:33:13

But they shouldn't live in a jar for long! They need a tank!

Pandemoniaa Sat 02-Feb-13 13:34:14

Sorry, was completely mislead by the aberrant apostrophe there. I now realise that it was the other mums who looked aghast. Not that I blame them.

readysteady Sat 02-Feb-13 13:34:15

Totally irresponsible it's a living animal not a toy! What you are just planning on giving the boy a tropical bug in a jam jar with no thought to its own unique Environmental requirements? it will just die in its jam jar! what Sort of lesson are you giving your children and indeed this boy if you think this is acceptable! Are you trying to be funny?

toomuch2young Sat 02-Feb-13 13:34:16
MrsKeithRichards Sat 02-Feb-13 13:34:54

I shudder when I think of stick insects, I think it's crazy to give one as a present.

Panzee Sat 02-Feb-13 13:35:19

I would hate that. I think pets in jars/cages is cruel.

DuckMeInTheGrass Sat 02-Feb-13 13:37:26

We got a kit for them once. Where you send off for eggs.

DS was delighted.

I hid it ... then charity shopped it a few
months later.

I would have cried if it was a live one!

YABU sorry. It would be horrible!

tabulahrasa Sat 02-Feb-13 13:38:05

I'd be furious if someone did that - I have no idea what the care needs of a stick insect are, children aren't responsible enough to have sole care of a living creature which means I'm forced to have a pet insect I didn't want, I really hate things with lots of legs and I have cats that would gladly eat it if they saw it.

Floralnomad Sat 02-Feb-13 13:40:03

I'm fairly sure that you shouldn't keep them in a jar ! YABVU .

Pourquoimoi Sat 02-Feb-13 13:41:48

DS2 is 9 this month, I would be very unimpressed to be presented with a stick insect. Ignoring the fact I can't stand insects, what a weird present to give without checking with the mum.

Sorry but YWBVU and a little odd.

Fairylea Sat 02-Feb-13 13:43:58

Poor stick insect! sad

No I don't think that was ok at all.

Viviennemary Sat 02-Feb-13 13:45:05

I don't agree with keeping insects in jars for people's amusement or entertainment. Sorry if that sounds judgey. I wouldn't have them in the house. DD asked for one once but I said no. Couldn't even bear the thought of one in the house. Ghastly!!!!

Pandemoniaa Sat 02-Feb-13 13:45:06

I'm sure you meant well, OP but giving this child a living creature as a present is misguided. You wouldn't have turned up with a puppy or a kitten would you?

Whether or not the child liked the stick insect is irrelevant. My children would have liked to receive any number of totally irresponsible presents from their friends. That doesn't mean that the parents of their friends should have obliged.

This is definitely the sort of gift where you need to check with the parents before giving it.

AreYouADurtBirdOrALadyBird Sat 02-Feb-13 13:45:15


Don't be surprised if your Ds
receives a bouncy Labrador pup for his birthday.

Very cruel,poor sticky.

Booyhoo Sat 02-Feb-13 13:45:37

i would have loved that at 9. i think my ds would like it now (7) and it would be a change from the usual tat. but yes, you should have checked with his parents.

LadyMargolotta Sat 02-Feb-13 13:48:19

They need a proper tank with suitable vegetation - it sounds like you need to learn that as well. You can't just keep them in a jar.

It sounds like the boy's mother was extremely polite.

HazeltheMcWitch Sat 02-Feb-13 13:50:02

YABVVVU. You should never give living things as presents, ever.

Cortana Sat 02-Feb-13 13:52:22

Well now the Mother has to either buy a proper viv for the poor creature to live in or find a home for it and face upset with her DS.

YABVU. In an ideal world you would give her a call and offer to pay for the kit that is needed to keep that pet happy and healthy. Obviously not everyone has that kind of money but a simple viv can be as little as £30 for pets such as small insects.

Bluestocking Sat 02-Feb-13 13:53:02

I am a pet person, but stick insects give me the heebs in a very serious way. I'd be horrified if someone gave DS one on his next birthday when he'll be nine. Definitely essential to check with parents first.

lljkk Sat 02-Feb-13 13:53:12

Sheesh, some people love to be outraged.
I don't like bugs but I would have taken it in stride. Better than plastic tat, for sure.

AuntieStella Sat 02-Feb-13 13:53:46


It's a living creature, not a toy. Pets should never-rarely be given as gifts. The only exception being when it has been thoroughly discussed with the recipient household.

Would you be as delighted if your DC had been given a hamster, goldfish, puppy? I bet the DC would really, really like it - does that still sound sufficient?

spg1983 Sat 02-Feb-13 13:54:37

Hmmm...I'm going to stick my neck out here (see what I did there?!) and make my first ever guess of a thread being a reverse AIBU...

Am I right? smile

BrianCoxandTheTempleofDOOM Sat 02-Feb-13 13:55:23

We had stick insects as children.

I hated the bloody things (don't like creepy crawlies <shudder>)

DBro loved them though and really looked after them, took care of them and they prospered. I have no idea if they died of old age or what (I was so uninterested it was shocking grin)

OP - you should have asked/discussed first.

OTOH, he has it now - you could speak to the mum and say you really hadn't thought it a bad idea, but realise she may think otherwise. Ask if she wants you to take it back or help the son care for it?

BeaWheesht Sat 02-Feb-13 13:57:12

Do you own stick insects yourself OP? Tell me you don't keep them in a jar?

I'd be utterly pissed off if you gave my ds a stick insect

BrianCoxandTheTempleofDOOM Sat 02-Feb-13 13:57:26

FWIW - my mum bought DD a goldfish for her 2nd birthday. I hate fish (don't wish any harm on them but grrruuurhrhrhrh they freak me out) and I point blank refused to have it in the house. So the fish lived happily ever after in my mum's kitchen and nobody has ever tried to buy DD another fish grin

Aww you can't keep it in a jar!

For one thing they breed like erm, rabbits. I remember when I had them. Hundreds of them in the end! And they got out. Much to my mother and sister's disgust, especially when you shut the curtains and they would drop down on you. grin

apostropheuse Sat 02-Feb-13 14:00:37

It was an incredibly stupid and thoughtless gift to give. Not everyone wants the responsibility of a pet.

However, now that you've given the pet I think you should buy the proper equipment necessary for its survivial. If the mum has already gone to the expense of buying the equipment you should reimburse her.

firawla Sat 02-Feb-13 14:02:19

Omg you can't give a live insect in a jar as a present - did you wrap it?? I'm just imagining the senario of unwrapping and finding a live insect inside, getting a shock and dropping the jar on the floor then the stick insect running free!!!
Lucky the mum or child wasn't too squeamish about insects!

ENormaSnob Sat 02-Feb-13 14:03:09


I would be very pissed off tbh.

CuriousMama Sat 02-Feb-13 14:04:49

I'm very laid back but even I find it weird to do this without asking first?

LouMae Sat 02-Feb-13 14:06:42

Ugh I absolutely hate stick insects, I'd have been horrified if DS had been given that. What a weird present.

Mrsrobertduvall Sat 02-Feb-13 14:08:34

What an odd thing to do.
Reverse aibu.
No one can be that idiotic.

diddl Sat 02-Feb-13 14:08:48

I can´t believe anyone would think that this is an OK thing to give.

OP-I also can´t believe that you think they live in jars!

TBH, I would have given it back!

BrianCoxandTheTempleofDOOM Sat 02-Feb-13 14:10:31

My memories of the stick insects (received as a present from school shock) were that they lived in large jars.

Poor things.

insanityscratching Sat 02-Feb-13 14:17:34

I would have given it straight back tbh because ultimately it should be a parent's choice whether or not they want a pet in the house. I can't cope with insects and I wouldn't have wanted to fork out for somewhere for it to live either.

aufaniae Sat 02-Feb-13 14:17:36

Ah, you've got me wanding off down memory lane! grin ...

I was given 20p to go buy what I liked at the school fair when I was little.
I came back with a jar of stick insects! (Price: exactly 20p grin)

I was absolutely delighted!

Mum, not so much. grin

Despite my young age, I did have the foresight to ask the people on the stall if they were girls or boys, knowing I didn't want to breed them. "They're all girls" they said to me. This was a cruel trick!

They did not say that the reason they had so many of the bloody things to sell was that they do pathogenesis, meaning they can just reproduce without the need for another gender.

We had them a few months IIRC. I loved them. I was into Enid Blyton at the time and called them all boyish girls names, (Roberta, Georgia, etc).

We looked them up in a book (no internet!) and it said they liked a particular leaf that our neighbours had, so I used to lean over the wall and stell leaves off the bush blush (Surprised my mum sanctioned this now!).

We didn't get as far as mass reproduction though luckily as the cat managed to get into the jar one day and there was stick insect armageddon. For weeks later we were finding half-dead stick insects with 3 legs crawling out of the sofa sad

<pulls self out of memory lane>

Sorry OP, back to your question! You should have really checked first, although I bet the kid loves them! I would advise calling the mum, and asking if you can offer any advice on looking after them. Also apologise for not thinking it through, and say you hope she's OK with it.

Having said that, assuming she is OK with it, I agree it's an infinitely better present than plastic tat.

Incidentally, what do you do when they start breeding exponentially? I'm curious!

Icelollycraving Sat 02-Feb-13 14:17:57

Yabvu. I'd be really pissed off. They don't live in a jar,they need proper tank & to be cared for. No responsible adult would do this surely? shock
Is this a reverse Aibu?

aufaniae Sat 02-Feb-13 14:18:43

*wandering and parthenogenesis!


Cherriesarelovely Sat 02-Feb-13 14:20:23

YABU. You shouldn't give pets as presents without asking parents first.

LadyMargolotta Sat 02-Feb-13 14:21:43

Of course, with the parents' agreement, it is a good present (or would be if itcame with an appropiate tank rather then just a jar).

We've been given a rabbit and guinea pigs as presents, but they checked with me first, and gave a cage, sawdust, straw, food etc as presents along with the actual animal (although we did make a hutch and enclosure ourselves).

NatashaBee Sat 02-Feb-13 14:22:33

We had stick insects when I was young. It was a total pain to find the privet they're meant to eat (not just any old leaves) and the bloody eggs hatched and they got everywhere, we were finding baby ones a year later (babies were small enough to get out the tank). If I disliked insects they would be my worst nightmare. YABVU.

zukiecat Sat 02-Feb-13 14:37:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LadyInPink Sat 02-Feb-13 14:45:30

We were given stick insects as a present a few years ago (DD was 5) but it came in a set with a mesh viv and magnifying glass etc and all the tips you needed to keep them. I didn't mind as I'm allergic to animals and this way DD got a pet that she could actually pet that didn't make me sneeze grin

They bred very quickly and we ended up having them for at least a year (actually I believe it was about two) but the privet was hard to find in the winter so we stopped keeping the eggs until the last one died. When they are small they are cute but I was pretty terrified of the great big grandaddy ones.

They 100% need a proper mesh viv, a glass jar will not do at all as they can't climb up there easily and a jar is too small plus there's no air as there has to be a lid or they'll escape.

Another friend got the same set and she quietly got rid of it as her DH grew up with them and he shudders still at the memory of them climbing up the bathroom wall so refused his DS to keep it.

I quite fancy the butterfly one but would never give as a present unless I was sure the parent was happy. DD got sea monkeys too but i was asked first.

OscarPistoriusBitontheside Sat 02-Feb-13 14:58:08

I would have shrieked and dropped the jar! Hate stick insects and most other insects you are being vvvvvvvvvvu.

Meglet Sat 02-Feb-13 15:03:16

Yabu. I'd be very pissed off too.

It's another responsibility for her. And space to keep it.

YouOldSlag Sat 02-Feb-13 15:18:37

YABU. I can't belive you idn't discuss this with the parents first. It's actually rude as its giving them another job to do.

YouOldSlag Sat 02-Feb-13 15:18:55

sorry about typos

DeafLeopard Sat 02-Feb-13 15:22:20

What YouOldSlag said

What a casual uncaring way to treat a living creature sad

MrsDeVere Sat 02-Feb-13 15:28:52

They like privet don't they?
Thats a bit odd. Strange exotic creature with a liking for suburban shrubbery


Poor little sticky indeed.

I think u were b u but that you had good intentions and I'm sure u just didn't think it through. Although its "just a stick insect" to some, it is still a living creature and deserves to be kept in a humane way and looked after correctly. If I were you I'd offer to take the insect back or provide adequate housing to the birthday boy for him and print off some care instructions,

lljkk Sat 02-Feb-13 17:55:53

oh ffs, don't get started with the animal welfare slant: it's a Bug. MN is replete with stories about gleefully killing wasps, spiders, slugs, headlice & other unwanted crawlies. Never mind how carnivorous most of us are.

I agree it's a bit thoughtless not to check with parents first.

EnjoyResponsibly Sat 02-Feb-13 18:04:49

I would have killed you outright.


MrsDeVere Sat 02-Feb-13 18:04:52

only things I will kill are fleas and headlice. If I could get away with ignoring them I would. Last year I was sodding infested and turned into a flea mass murderer. I was a teeny bit gleeful, I will admit.

Its true. My house has got loads of bloody mice running around and I can't bear to cull them.

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 02-Feb-13 18:06:32


You don't give a pet as a gift. Obviously.

Stick insects don't live in jam jars.

countrykitten Sat 02-Feb-13 18:25:24

You have been rude and foolish and I would have given you a piece of my mind as pets should never be given as presents.

How depressingly stupid of you.

countrykitten Sat 02-Feb-13 18:25:57

And as for the jam jar....shock

They live wild in my neck of the woods (SW), I guess they must have been chucked out at some stage and as its mild they survive - I often see them in the garden. Gave me quite a surprise the 1st time I saw one. They get big too, the type in our garden get as long as my hand and you couldnt keep that in a jar - poor sticky sad

firesidechat Sat 02-Feb-13 18:31:29

If you really did give someone a stick insect in a jar then YABU. I think that it's fairly safe to say that living, breathing gifts should always without fail be discussed first.

Do they now have to buy a tank and whatever else a stick insect needs? Bet they are delighted with that!

YouOldSlag Sat 02-Feb-13 18:31:29

SW- Swaziland? South Wales?

firesidechat Sat 02-Feb-13 18:38:32

Hope this link works. Op this is what they need. No jam jars are mentioned by the way.

Sorry, Southwest - in Cornwall

Not my colony - I dont think we have that many smile

countrykitten Sat 02-Feb-13 18:45:37

The OP should now buy a tank and equip this family with what they need to look after this creature properly. It'e the very least she can do...bloody jam jar...angry

MrsBonkers Sat 02-Feb-13 18:49:43

I think you should have cleared it with the other mother first.
I'm a pet person, not sure I like the idea of pet insects, but would be more pissed off at having to buy the stuff to go with it. I wouldn't be happy to confine it to a jar.

Pixel Sat 02-Feb-13 18:59:23

We used to have ours in a big jar from the sweetshop, with a branch inside for them to crawl up and some gauze over the top. I don't recall them having privet, I'm sure they had blackberry leaves. They were fine until we went on holiday and my nan forgot to give them water sad.

LynetteScavo Sat 02-Feb-13 19:08:38

I would be quite happy if you gave my 9yo one.....but I would have wanted a better habbitat that a jar, so would have bought something bigger, and cursed you that a gift was costing me money. I was going to buy some stick insects for DS...all the ones for sale were being sold as live food for other creatures. confused They would have been posted to me in a box, apparently.

From Googling stick insects, I also learned that you can clean them in the dishwasher.

I settled for a goldfish.

DS1 then came home from the fair with a goldfish. I wondered what I would have done with it if the tank wasn't already set up.

I gave DS four giant hissing cockroaches for Christmas when he was 6. We debated getting sticks, but after asking around decided that the roaches were actually much easier to look after and less fragile. Also paid out for a proper vivarium for them. It wasn't a decision we took lightly, and I did a lot of research beforehand. As I suspected, whilst DS does love handling them, day to day care is left to muggins - luckily I think they're brilliant! I would go NUTS if someone gave him ANY animal without asking though!

treas Sat 02-Feb-13 19:18:54

A stick insect is for six months not just at birthdays - YABU

OkayHazel Sat 02-Feb-13 19:19:53

Giving a pet as a present is one of the most selfish things you can do imho.

Quenelle Sat 02-Feb-13 19:23:46

YABU My cousin had one when we were kids. His parents still have it and cousin is in his 40s now. They live for years. Unless given to someone without the first clue how to look after one. Poor thing.

EndoplasmicReticulum Sat 02-Feb-13 19:48:46

YANBU. I love stickies. They are not difficult to look after.

DrCoconut Sat 02-Feb-13 19:53:00

We had 2 initially. We allowed DS1 to get them but we ended up looking after them, well DH did mostly because I don't like insects. They bred like crazy and we ended up with a huge stick insect baby boom. Luckily the local college animal care dept wanted to start an insect section and was looking for some. We rehomed the lot as I knew the problem would repeat if not. Definitely no pets as presents and no more stick insects for us!

PickledInAPearTree Sat 02-Feb-13 20:49:20

They breed and drop down on you?


Op a bad bad bad bad bad bad bad idea without getting prior agreement.

LynetteScavo Sat 02-Feb-13 22:52:46

They breed easily? Oh, now I really want to get some.

I have a big fish tank. What else do I need.

If I go a way for a week, do I need to give them to a babysitter?

Coconutty Sat 02-Feb-13 23:00:18

Reverse AIBU

Otherwise you just gave someone a shit gift.

DoJo Sat 02-Feb-13 23:00:25

Yes - YABU for all the reasons given already!

Charmingbaker Sat 02-Feb-13 23:11:51

Dont be surprised if your DS isn't invited to anyone else's birthday party for a while!

shushpenfold Sat 02-Feb-13 23:14:44

Oh good grief - seriously????? Unsure as to why you think a living thing is a good present.....

Startail Sat 02-Feb-13 23:23:18

Not in winter, schools ate bramble leaves, they were a sod to find in Feb.

ripsishere Sun 03-Feb-13 00:08:04

My DD had stick insects. We sent off for the cage and eggs. Of 11 eggs, all hatched, grew and lived. They are spectacularly dull and fragile. Fortunately ours never grew to an age where they could self impregnate and, as they died, I never replaced them with more eggs.
They were all called Twiggy.

gobbledegook1 Sun 03-Feb-13 12:48:12

It wouldn't bother me but I'm an animal person as is my son, I'd always check first though before buying a living creature though as pets are a huge responsibility.

PickledInAPearTree Sun 03-Feb-13 19:53:09



ll31 Sun 03-Feb-13 20:26:24

Yabvu. how could you think that was a good idea?

SamanthaStormer Sun 03-Feb-13 20:32:27

I've got a 9 year old boy, and we have no pets. I'm afraid I'd have been doing my very best to look grateful and not too aghast if he got given that as a present while cursing you under my breath grin

fluffypillow Sun 03-Feb-13 20:40:00

Hmmm strange thing to do............. VERY strange confused

lovely idea. LOVE IT

Idreamofsunshine Sun 03-Feb-13 20:45:10

YABU, terrible idea

Hulababy Sun 03-Feb-13 20:45:39

Sorry. I'd have hated it. I am but sure how I'd react in front if you and other parents but we definitely wouldn't have been keeping it.

AnitaManeater Sun 03-Feb-13 20:50:31

Urgghhh! My dad brought home a two legged stick insect that nobody wanted to look after for the summer hols (he was a teacher). We thought it was pretty much dead but it still managed to lay eggs. By the end of the summer we had hundreds. And then they escaped the cage. We were finding them in the folds of the curtains, down the side of the sofa, sometimes we would find the cat crunching one up on the carpet. I would never ever EVER let my kids have one!

Patchouli Sun 03-Feb-13 20:54:50

What a stupid thing to do!
It'd be great if the mum gave your DS a goldfish in a bag to take home while all the others had goodie bags.

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