Praying mantis as pets

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.

Feeding your mantis

A Wandering Violin Mantis eating a flyOf 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.

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.A ghost mantis with an empty stomach and the same one just after eating a large meal. 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.

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