Praying Mantis Care in keep in Captivity ..
How to Take Care of a Praying Mantis :
courtesy to : www.wikihow.com/Take-Care-of-a-Praying-Mantis
A fascinating insect, the praying mantis is widespread in the world and makes an awesome choice for a pet. Even people who don't like a lot of bugs can be persuaded to enjoy the antics of a praying mantis, as it swivels its head to look behind its shoulder at you (indeed, it's the only insect that can do this!) Praying mantises (or mantis) come in many colors such as pink like a flower (the orchid praying mantis – Hymenopus coronatus) and white, although most are brown or green. The type of praying mantis species you'll be able to keep will depend on where you live and whether you're obtaining your praying mantis from the wild or your local exotic pet store. Raising a praying mantis is fairly straightforward, a lot of fun, and it's likely you'll learn a lot more about this unique and entertaining insect simply by observing its daily antics.
Part One :Finding a praying mantis
1- Find a praying mantis. The praying mantis is found in many parts of the world and some were introduced to the United States in the early nineteenth century and have since become naturalized.  If you know you have them in your local area, consider collecting one from the wild. Praying mantises are usually about 3 inches (7.5 cm) in length and mostly brown or green, and they look much like sticks and leaves, making them blend in well with their environment.
Look in places where there are many green bushes, crickets, and butterflies. These are some of the mantises' favorite foods.
Look carefully. These little bugs are masters of disguise. Most are long and green. Some can be fat and gray, or even have a pinkish hue. Some look like flowers, but those are mostly found in Africa and Asia. Try to imagine how the praying mantis is likely to appear when it is pretending to be part of a plant and it'll be a bit easier to find one.
2- Get a container for your mantis. Get a small container to put your mantis in once you find it. It doesn't have to be very big - just a 6" x 6" square (15.2cm x 15.2cm) should do for most mantises. The container should be well ventilated and preferably made out of mesh, or chicken wire, to give the mantis and its prey something to cling onto. It should also have a secure top. Never use a container that had chemicals in it.
Always treat any animal with care, and wash your hands after handling their cages or cage accessories.
With proper care praying mantises can live up to one and a half years.
Get a container that sends air at the top and bottom.
Some web stores will sell you an egg sac which can be placed in your garden to hatch. This will increase the local mantis population, decrease the bug supply, and give you more opportunities to observe them in their natural environment.
Use a fluorescent light above the vivarium if you'd like to see your praying mantis at night. This will also give out light that any live plants you're growing will appreciate.
Praying mantises are harmless to humans although they're fearful foes to other insect-kind.
Make sure you don't touch your praying mantis when it is moulting!
Praying mantises have very fragile egg cases, so be very careful.
Always treat any animal with care.
It may be preferable to simply observe the praying mantises in your vicinity rather than take them captive. They are so beautiful to watch. They will watch you as well. A praying mantis visit is good luck. Killing one may bring you bad luck.
3- Catch your mantis. More than likely, you won't need any gloves, unless you're squeamish about touching bugs. Simply place the opening of your container in front of the mantis. Coax the mantis into the container using a twig, or your hand if you are okay with that. Soon, he or she should willingly go into the container. Close the top, because mantises are smart, and they'll seize any opportunity to escape.
4- Purchase a praying mantis. If you can't find one or they aren't in your area, visit your local pet store and ask for advice as to whether they can get a particular praying mantis for you. This might give you wider options for different species, depending on the laws in your country as to importing insects and keeping them as pets.
If purchasing a praying mantis, they are usually sold as nymphs. Each nymph comes packed in small container.
PART TWO : Housing a praying mantis
1-Prepare the home for your praying mantis. For the praying mantis to remain happy and healthy, she will need a good environment within your home. Choose a suitable structure to house your praying mantis, such as a vivarium. The structure should be large enough for a growing mantis if you've purchased a nymph and it needs to be kept warm, at around 24ºC (75ºF), and a few less degrees at night.
Provide climbing items. The praying mantis needs to be able to clamber up on things such as twigs, branches, small dowel poles, etc.
Decorate with foliage, twigs, and other natural items that allow the praying mantis to climb and clamber around. Some people place a living plant or two into the display, as the mantis will enjoy being able to climb it
Warmth can be provided by using a spot lamp or a heater pad. Speak to your pet supplies specialist to see what they have in stock.
PART THREE : Feeding a praying mantis
1- Feed your mantis properly. The food requirements of a praying mantis will vary depending on their growth stage. In general, they don't need a lot of food.
For a nymph purchased from the pet store: Feed with fruit flies, micro crickets, gnats, aphids, and other mini bugs.
For a mantis that has grown and is molting or shedding, (the instar stages): Start to increase the insect size; then for each shedding period, feed normally but remove anything she ignores because she may not eat during molting.
For a fully grown praying mantis, get busy: Catch butterflies, crickets, grasshoppers or even house flies. In the wild praying mantises will consume anything they can catch and hold. They are also known to eat bees, wasps and even small birds in the wild.  but you probably don't want to mess with them.
Buying crickets from the pet store is not necessary, although some people will tell you that using wild crickets could make your pet sick. This may or may not be true for store-raised mantises, but for wild-caught ones, some harm should come to them. As for store-bought crickets or some pet stores over feed their crickets, some caution should be exercised. Many pet stores do not feed or properly care for crickets, and any diseases those crickets have as a result can be passed on to your mantis. If you're not sure, spend a few days feeding store-bought or wild-caught crickets high nutrition diets to help manage the bacteria in their gut, and they should be fine.
Don't give the mantis live food that is bigger than it or your mantis might be the one that gets eaten.
Praying Mantises will not eat dead insects.
2- Spray mist the enclosure to provide water for the praying mantis. Get a spray bottle and spray on its cage (if it's wire). If it's not wire, put it in a water bottle lid and let them drink out of that. Remember they like hanging from stuff, so give them a stick to go on or something else while drinking.
3- Clear uneaten food out of the mantis' home. Mantises aren't the tidiest of diners and they'll leave behind all manner of debris including legs, wings, chewy or hard bits they didn't like, etc., and you need to remove these daily. When this debris piles up, the praying mantis will stress out and won't cope well in her artificial environment.
When cleaning out the leftovers from her meals, also remove your praying mantis' fecal matter (pellet shaped).
PART FOUR : Keeping the mantis on its own
1- Keep your praying mantis separate from any other ones you plan on keeping.Praying mantises have voracious appetites for insects, including one another. They're top predators in the insect kingdom and will stalk or wait until their chance comes, so don't give them the chance to also be a cannibal. Have separate housing for each praying mantis you intend to keep.
PART FIVE : Handling the mantis
1- Handle with care. Your praying mantis is delicate no matter how strong she appears. Avoid picking her up as there are several risks involved; she might be crushed by an over-enthusiastic grip, or she might defend herself against your attempt by stabbing you with her forearms. It will probably surprise you more than hurt you but it will definitely stress her and put on the defensive. The answer is to allow her to climb onto your outstretched palm, finger, or top of your hand, at her leisure. Be patient!
When you clean their cage don't be afraid to pick them up, but if you prefer, you can use gloves.
2- Don't be afraid to pet your mantis.Apparently,some actually enjoy it when their owners stroke the top of their thorax.(Where the limbs connect to the body)
Praying mantises have wings once they're adults, meaning that they can fly. If you want to hold her, close all windows and doors before removing her from her home.
When molting, leave your praying mantis alone and don't touch her. She'll shed her old exoskeleton and gain a new one. Once the new one is in place, you can handle her again.
3-Maintain hygiene. Wash your hands after handling your praying mantis, its cages, or cage accessories.
PART SIX : Breeding
Consider breeding the praying mantises if you want to have several praying mantises over time. A praying mantis has a short lifespan, of around six months from nymph to adulthood, and another six months as an adult. With good care, this can be extended up to a year and a half in the easy home life you're providing. Identify thegender of your praying mantis first - the female has six segments on her underside while the male has eight. If a female is mated, she can produce several egg cases (ootheca), and it may eat the male (and be aware that un-mated females will probably still lay eggs, they just won't hatch).
Be prepared for nursery duty if you catch or mate a female mantis. She will grow a big belly, and lose the ability to fly. When your mantis lays eggs, it should be in the early fall, or late spring. Don't worry. You will have plenty of time to prepare for your eggs to hatch next spring.
The egg case will have a ridge along the center of it. It's not to everyone's liking to look at but shelve your squeamishness!
Come springtime, the eggs should soon hatch, and the nymphs should emerge through tiny holes in the egg case. A word of caution – they can, and will often eat each other if they are not separated, and when they reach molting stages, many mantises will stop eating for a day or two, so it's easier to squeeze out of that old shell.
Feed as outlined above.
Those you don't plan on keeping can be set free in your garden.
Don't use poison (fungicides, pesticides, insecticides) on the plants or plant material you use in your mantis' home; it will kill the mantis.
Again, never use a container that had any kind of chemical in it.
It is really a bad idea to house two or more mantises together. They generally don't get along well as adults, and one can quickly become a snack for the other.
Don't leave a praying mantis outside overnight; it may freeze to death if you live in a cold climate.
Don't clean the vivarium with anything toxic. Use hot water and a mild liquid soap if needed. Or ask at the pet store for cleaning advice.
If you successfully breed pet store praying mantises, do not release them into the wild unless you are certain that the species you have bred is indigenous in your area. Releasing a variety that is not already established could upset the balance already in your area, and is generally illegal.
Things You'll Need :
Container for catching (if relevant)
Vivarium or similar for home
Twigs, branches, etc., for climbing
Prey, such as bugs, flies, etc., as detailed above
Heat pad or other heat source to maintain proper temperature
Fluorescent light (optional) like a LED light
Live plants (optional) or foliage or fake plants
Sources and Citations :
↑ David Manning, Praying Mantis p. 173, in Need to know? Exotic Pets: Expert advice on buying and caring for unusual pets, (2008), ISBN 978-0-0726275-5
↑ David Manning, Praying Mantis p. 172, in Need to know? Exotic Pets: Expert advice on buying and caring for unusual pets, (2008), ISBN 978-0-0726275-5
↑ David Manning, Praying Mantis p. 172, in Need to know? Exotic Pets: Expert advice on buying and caring for unusual pets, (2008), ISBN 978-0-0726275-5
Article Info :
Categories: Featured Articles | Mantises
In other languages:
Español: cuidar una mantis religiosa, Deutsch: Eine Gottesanbeterin halten, Italiano: Prendersi Cura di una Mantide Religiosa, Français: prendre soin d'une mante religieuse, 中文: 养螳螂, Português: Tomar Conta de um Louva a Deus, Русский: ухаживать за богомолом, Bahasa Indonesia: Merawat Belalang Sembah
"How-to" build a praying mantis terrarium (house/cage)
Praying Mantis Nymph Care
MUST SEE how to care for praying mantis.
Praying Mantis caresheet :
courtesy to : www.amentsoc.org/insects/caresheets/praying-mantids
The Mantids are a group of 1,800 carnivorous insects (Order: Mantodea). Most mantids are from tropical countries although a few do occur in cooler climates. Their closest relatives are the stick insects, grasshoppers and cockroaches. Like their relatives the mantids undergo simple or incomplete metamorphosis; they do not have a maggot or caterpillar but go through several stages all of which look like miniature, wingless adults.
Young mantids should be fed on fruit flies (Drosophila sp.), aphids or other small insects. They do well if supplied with as much food as they can eat although they can last quite a while without food.
As they grow they can be given larger prey, almost any insects (for example, blue bottle flies, grasshoppers, crickets, cockroaches) will be eaten. Some species will happily tackle prey as large as themselves. However, you should make sure that any insects that are not eaten do not chew the legs or wings of your mantid.
If you keep live food for your mantid then you should also ensure that the live food is kept in appropriate conditions (adequate space, correct temperature and humidity and access to food and water).
Many species are very aggressive towards each other and if kept in groups they will eat each other especially as one or two become slightly larger than their brothers and sisters.
As the mantis grows it will shed its skin several times, becoming larger at each stage. Initially a small container such as a yoghurt pot will make suitable cage. As the mantis grows it can progress into a jam jar or milk bottle and finally into a sweet jar. The top of the yoghurt pot can be covered with clingfilm. A small hole can be made through the clingfilm to allow food to be put in. The hole can be plugged with a piece of sponge which will allow air to enter. A similar sponge plug can be used in the neck of a bottle, jars should have lids with holes drilled in them.
Whatever type of cage is used a stick or branch should be provided for the insect to hang from when it sheds its skin and the distance from the top of the branch to the floor must be at least three times the length of the insect. Many Praying mantids are from tropical origins and therefore need to be kept warm, as a general rule 20°C to 25°C will be ideal.
Mantids do not usually need to drink. However if they are kept in a heated cage a small dish of water is a good idea in order to provide some humidity, alternatively the cage should be sprayed with water each day.
Sexing mantids is difficult when they are small but fairly easy when adult, eight segments can be counted on the underside of the abdomen of a male and six on that of the female (in some species the end segments are difficult to see and only seven or five may be counted).
After two or three weeks as adults the mantids can be mated. Both should be fed as much as they will eat for several days before the male is introduced to the female's cage. It is advisable to use a large cage for the mating and feeding them well beforehand is essential otherwise the female will eat the male. Mating may occur immediately or it may take the male a day or so to make his approach. Mating may last a day or more so it is a good idea to keep the cage supplied with food so the female can eat while mating. The male should be removed as soon as mating has finished.
The eggs are produced in an eggcase called an ootheca this may produce 30 to 300 young mantids depending on the species. The ootheca is a frothy mass created by the female, the froth hardens to form a tough case for the eggs. Hatching usually takes between 3 and 6 months. The young may hatch all at once or in batches over a period of several weeks.
The ootheca should be suspended at least 5cm above the floor of the cage. When the young hatch they hang by a thread from the ootheca until their skin hardens off. The female will eat a lot and become very fat before laying an ootheca on a branch or side of the container if she is already fat she may well lay her first ootheca the day after mating.
She will lay several oothecae, usually about six, but only needs to be mated once. The young nymphs can be housed together for a time but the cage must be very large with plenty of hiding places and an excess of live food must be provided to prevent cannibalism. The mantids should be housed separately after the second or third moult.
Mantids will live for 12 to 18 months and the oothecae can also take several months to hatch.
Some species of mantis are parthenogenic so can produce a viable ootheca without mating.
Overwintering mantis oothecas (egg mass) :
If you live in a location where mantids occur naturally you may find mantis oothecas (see the photograph on ourMantodea page) in the wild. People sometimes wonder how the eggs within the egg mass survive over winter. In the case of the mantis, the eggs will be buffered from extremes of temperature by being in the protective egg case (or by the position of the oothecae).
However, people occasionally bring mantis egg masses indoors to "protect" them over winter. Unfortunately the warmth can cause the nymphs to emerge early and be unable to find any food. Instead, if you want to keep and observe the ootheca, you should keep it in an unheated building (like a shed) and let the nymphs emerge at the correct time.
Lost limbs :
Praying mantids undergo incomplete metamorphosis. Sometimes, often if their cage is too dry, a mantis may have trouble shedding its old skin and will lose a limb in the process of moulting. If this happens it is possible for a mantis to regrow the lost limb but only when they moult again. This means that, if your mantis is an adult (i.e. if it's got wings), then it won't be able to regrow the lost limb.
Sphrodomantis viridis from West Africa is an easy species to keep, very suitable for beginners. They are about 8 cm long and either bright green to light brown in colour. They will happily take food of their own size and they will also take pieces of uncooked meat if it is offered on a pair of tweezers. Their ootheca can contain up to 300 eggs.
Further information on Praying Mantids.
Remember: it is important that you know the needs and requirements of your pet before you obtain the animal. You should never, ever obtain an animal before researching its needs and preparing the housing and conditions.
Recommended Websites :
Further Reading :
by Orin McMonigle
by Thomas Green
Caring for a mantis :
courtesy to : www.keepinginsects.com/praying-mantis/care/
Keeping a praying mantis as a pet is fun and is not hard at all. But of course a praying mantis does need proper care to stay healthy and strong. It doesn’t really matter if you have bought your own pet mantis, or if you found a mantis in nature, most of them need the same basic care. The following points will help you in keeping your praying mantis happy and healthy!
Housing your mantis :
To house your pet praying mantis, you need an enclosure filled with appropriate substrate and some surfaces or branches for climbing and hanging.
Make sure the enclosure of your pet is suitable. This means that the cage, box or terrarium is at least 3x longer than the body length praying mantis and 2x wider than the body length of the praying mantis. This will ensure that the mantis has plenty of space to walk around in and to use when it will shed its skin (molt). The cage should also have proper ventilation.
Place substrate on the bottom of the tank, terrarium or cage. This substrate can be anything that will absorb water and that will not mold easily. For example: tissue paper, vermiculite, potting earth, shredded wood, pieces of bark or sand. The purpose of the substrate is to release water slowly, thus keeping the humidity in the tank a bit more constant.
Fill the enclosure with branches or other objects where the mantis can sit on or hang from. You could use branches, twigs, reeds, stiff dry grass, fake plastic flowers or plastic decorative branches. Make sure the objects are safe for the mantis, e.g. without glue or insecticides, and that there is plenty of space left for the mantis to move around.
To read more about possible enclosures, their differences and some important safety tips you can read the page Enclosure.
A possible enclosure for an Orchid Mantis or other flower mantis. On top should be a ventilated lid.
Temperature and humidity :
Every mantis species needs a specific temperature and air humidity to survive. Some species live in damp forest areas, while others live in desserts or dry grasslands. Which specific requirements your species of choice has, can be read in the species description on the right. How to maintain a proper humidity and temperature, read the respective pages: Humidity and Temperature.
To ensure proper humidity, you need to spray the enclosure of your mantis every day or every week, depending on the type of housing and on the species of mantis. If you have more ventilation holes you will need to spray water more often to keep the humidity high.
An Idolomantis diabolica nymph
Feeding your mantis:
Of course you have to feed your mantis. But unlike other pets such as cats and dogs, praying mantids do not need to eat every day. Feeding them every day can be bad for some mantis species! You have to feed your mantis every one to four days, depending on the species, the type of food you give it, the size of the mantis, the body condition of the mantis (well-fed or skinny) and its life-stage (adult females need more food than adult males).
Mantises only eat live insects for food. This can be flies, crickets, moths, caterpillars, locusts and some other insects. If you want to read what types of food your mantis will eat, read our page Live Food. If you want to breed your own fruit flies, you can check out our handy DIY fruit fly breeding page.
A Wandering Violin Mantis eating a fly
When feeding your mantis, make sure the mantis will actually eat the food you offer it. When you introduce live food to the enclosure of the mantis, this food can hide or escape. When this happens often the mantis will starve. To make sure your mantis will eat what you offer it, you can watch until he has caught the food. You can also offer the food with tweezers directly to the mantis. If you do this carefully the mantis will grab the live food item directly from the tweezers and will start eating instantly. Prey that moves a lot, like flies, will generally be caught much more easily then prey that hides, like cockroaches or caterpillars.
Cleaning the mantis’ terrarium :
The enclosure of your mantis hardly needs any cleaning. Mantids are small and do not produce much waste. Make sure to remove any half-eaten prey items to prevent them from becoming smelly.
When cleaning the enclosure of your mantis, just remove all substrate and wash the inside of the enclosure with hot water. Do not use any detergent as this can harm the mantis. Dry the enclosure and add fresh substrate.
How to take care of a specific species of mantis :
So, you have a Carolina mantis or Chinese mantis and you want to know how to house it and how to take care of it? Cool! Read the caresheet at our Species page. Every species has its own page listing their specific requirements and telling you more about the species.
General mantis info :
This pages will give you some general information about praying mantises, like their morphology, their camouflage, their senses, their way of life and their natural habitat.
Morphology of a mantis :
The morphology, or body plan, of a praying mantis is similar to that of many insects. It has six legs, two wings and two antennae. However, they have some special features which makes them unique among insects. First they are able to turn their head around like humans can. All other insects cannot turn their heads, their neck is too rigid to allow it. Furthermore praying mantids have modified front legs; these front legs are especially designed to catch prey and hold them tightly. These arms are very strong and equipped with pointy spikes to keep a firm hold on the prey.
Most adult praying mantids have wings (some species do not). Females usually cannot fly with their wings, but males can.
Here you can see the body plan of a mantis clearly. This is an adult female of Sphodromantis baccettii.
Camouflage and colors :
Some mantis species depend on good camouflage to prevent predators from eating them, while others keep a more simple look. Well camouflaged mantids have many projections on their body in the shape of dead leaves, branches, flower pentals or even moss. Their colors can vary from brown, to green, white, pink, yellow or a mix of all colors. The more straightforwards looks are simply green, brown or sandy colored but without any special modifications.
This orchid mantis has extraordinary camouflage
This Ghost mantis has strange shapes on its head and body to mimic dead leaves
The senses of a mantis
Praying mantids have as many senses as we do; sight, smell, taste, feeling and hearing. However, they mostly depend on sight. Their sense of sight is amazing compared to the abilities of other insects. They are one of the only kind of insect that has stereo-vision; it can look with two eyes at the same spot making it possible to judge distances very accurately. Their other senses are weak compared to ours; their sense of smell is mostly limited to smelling specific pheromones that members of their own species emit. Their sense of hearing is weak, but very special in the insect world. Almost all insects cannot hear as we do, they can only sense vibrations. But praying mantids actually have one ear, in the middle of their abdomen, that can sense the high-pitched tones of a bat! This ear is especially developed to pick up the echolocation calls of bats, the ear cannot hear other tones. Because of this ear, a flying mantis can hear it when a bat is chasing him in the air. When a flying mantis hears the call of the bat at a close distance, it will suddenly make a turn and let itself drop to the ground. This saves the life of the mantis, as bats are a very common predator of flying insects.
The eyes of a mantis are very big and directed forward, to ensure good stereo-vision.
Development and growth
Praying mantids are part of the hemimetabola group of insects; this means they do not undergo a complete metamorphosis. A complete metamorphosis is that of a butterfly or beetle; first you have a caterpillar or larvae, then a pupa (cocoon) and then the adult insect. This adult looks nothing like the first stage of the life cycle. In mantids and other hemimetabola, the newly born insects already resemble the adults. In praying mantids, the newborn nymphs are almost the same as the parents except their size, color and their wings. These mantis nymphs shed their skin around 6 – 9 times before reaching adulthood. The number of molts depends on the species and the sex of the mantis. Every time the mantis sheds its skin, it will grow. Because of its rigid outer skeleton (skin) the mantis cannot grow in between molts.
Every nymph stage is indicated with a number; newborn nymphs are called L1. After they shed their skin for the first time, they are called L2. This goes on until the mantis is almost adult. When it has only one molt to go before reaching adulthood it is often called subadult, although you could still indicate its life stage by its L-number.
Praying mantis eggs are deposited in the form of an ootheca; this is a cluster of eggs enclosed by foam. This foam will quickly harder after the female has produced the ootheca, thereby protecting the eggs inside from cold, predators and from desiccation.
This is an ootheca that has been deposited on glass. The small rounds are eggs seen through the glass.
This is the skin a mantis leaves behind every time it molts.
Video of mantis nymphs hatching:
Natural habitat and natural behavior :
Praying mantids occur on all continents except Antarctica, therefore their natural habitat is very diverse. There are praying mantis species that occur in trees, bushes, grassland and even rocky or sandy desert environments. They can occur in wet ecosystems or in very dry systems. Their way of life strongly depends on its habitat and the species, but generally a praying mantis is a sit-and-wait predator. This means it will stay in one place and scan the environment for potential prey. When it spots its prey, some species will actively walk towards it to catch it. Other species will continue to wait until the prey is close enough to be caught.
When praying mantises become adult, the female will generally remain at her position while the male will search for her. The male is able to fly, while most female praying mantids are not. The female will emit a pheromone when she is ready to mate. The male can smell this pheromone of his own species from miles away and will fly towards her.
by Orin McMonigle