Mantis care information
General all around care sheet with tips and tricks.
Captive Bred Praying Mantis found all over the world!
So many customers want to know so much about their
new pets that we thought it would be beneficial to post a Tips & Tricks page to help them. This
is good for newbie's and oldies alike, if you have a tip or trick that works for you be sure to tell
us about it. If it sounds useful, you may see it here. A word about mantis that may help you put
their needs into perspective are Common Sense. When you are wondering about the care and
surrounding of what your mantis may need, always remember to think about the conditions our
Great Maker placed them in. A good ideal is to find out where the mantis species originated from.
When you find out the country they live in, then you can easily find out the weather conditions
they thrive in. Mostly they survive in the same conditions we do, we need water and food, they
also need water and food. We need night and day and they need night and day. We need a safe
shelter and they do to. So when you are considering what you will set up for them, just think abou
t their life outdoors and what conditions present themselves therein. If you do this whatever you
decide will be right. There is no one perfect housing condition. One will work just as well as another.
If you find that what you have is not just right, do not be afraid to change it. As long as you follow
the requirements I have outlined for you, you will do great !
The praying mantis female lays an egg pouch called an Ootheca. For people in the hobby they
have shortened the name to Ooth! The Ooth is a foam or spongy type protein material that
protects the eggs until hatching time. Depending on the species of mantis, Oothecas come in
different sizes and colors, some require longer incubation periods than others. Some need a
cold period called Diapause. This is where the egg development is suspended for a time until
the weather is right for the nymphs survival. Some species lay any where from 10 to 400 nymphs.
Nymphs are what the young mantis are called.
Taking care of the Ootheca is easy, just attach the Ooth to a twig or lid of the enclosure you are
going to hatch it in. To attach it use a low heat glue gun with a small amount of glue. Glue the side
that does not have the zipper look to it. This zipper runs from the top to bottom and is where the
nymphs will emerge. A good rule of thumb is to look closely at the ooth, you can usually tell the
front from the back by looking for where the female laid it. Not all ooths will have a zipper look
to the front side, some will have a thread like piece hanging from it and others have a different
color as in the Carolina, running down the middle of it. As outlined before, find out all you can about
the species you intend to raise and ask the supplier if you are unsure how to attach it. Mantis Place.com
will attach any ooth to a cloth lid upon request, most are attached already to a cloth lid and sent in an insect cup.
Place a small amount of excelsior in the bottom of the container for the nymphs to hang onto once they hatch.
Spray or mist the Ooth with warm water every few days. It is important for the eggs to have
moisture just like they would outside. The Ooth will also need air, do not put it in a container
that is not ventilated. This will cause mold to develop and will destroy the eggs inside the Ooth.
Mantis Place has cloth covered lids that are ideal for Ooth incubating. They let in air, while
keeping baby nymphs inside and their feeder food too. Keep the Ooth in a warm spot, on top of
the TV, refrigerator or even near the back of your computer, just remember the warmer an o
oth is kept the more times you will need to mist it. The Ooth does not need any extra light.
Whatever light is in the room is fine.
In approximately 4 to 24 weeks most Ooths will hatch. Some exotic species take longer.
Sometimes people worry when an ooth does not hatch when they expect it to. They may be afraid
that it is not fertile. A lot of them will slice open the ooth to see if the eggs are inside it. Sure
enough they are. A note of caution here, This is not a good practice, the only reason to open
an ooth is to see if it has already been hatched. If it has hatched already there will be no eggs
inside, and this should only be done when the time for hatching for the ooth species has elapsed.
There may be brown eggs inside too, they will stink if you smell them and this means that the eggs
were probably not fertilized and that they just rotted. A female Mantis will produce eggs and
lay her ootheca whether fertilized or not. This is her purpose and this she will do with or with
out a mate. So to open an ooth to see if there are eggs inside is a futile exercise.
Nymph Care, Feeding, Housing
After 12 hours mist the nymphs with warm water. I like to use Distilled water for my mantis,
as most tap water has chlorine and fluoride added to it. The chlorine will dry them out and
they do not have teeth, so they do not need the fluoride. It is a good idea to mist them every
12 hours during their first 2 weeks of life, there after once a day for most species. Be sure
to find out the conditions the species you decide to raise need. You can just type their origin
into google or some other search engine to check on that areas climate. Duplicating their
climate will ensure a better enviroment for your pets. Some need more heat than others
and some need more water than others, please remember that all living creatures need water
at some time or other. If you are unsure, just spray the enclosure near the mantis and if it
is thirsty it will drink. Some people use sphagnum moss for extra moisture in their enclosures
and some people use our humidity foam.
After two days you will need to offer them some fruit flies, the Melanogaster fruit fly is
sufficient for most nymphs. They will be hungry and eager to eat at this time. Do not wait
for them to hatch to order your flies, as you need to have a culture producing to feed your
new arrivals. After their first moult (where they shed their exoskeleton) they may be big
enough to eat the larger fruit fly, the Hydei, from there they will move on to house flies
and small crickets, then to larger flies called Blue Bottle and larger crickets, moths and worms.
After a week or two depending on the species you have chosen, you may have anywhere from
10 to 400 mantis. If your mantis is a species native to where you live, once it is established
and has started to eat, you may release it outside if the weather is consistent with the mantis
normal environment. If you plan to keep it you will need to provide a container suitable for the
mantis to live in. If you have a non native species you may not release it into the environment,
they must be kept inside as pets. Some people leave them together until they are reduced to
a manageable size, since they will eat each other. Unless you want this to happen you will have
to separate them by the time they are into their 3rd or 4th moult. Make sure the containers
you choose are the proper size for the species of mantis you have selected. The proper size is
three times the mantis height and at least twice their height for the width. Remember most
mantis are not communial species and need to be seperated, and all mantis will eat each other
if given the chance, so it is a decision you must make when deciding on how many to keep in
The container you choose is important to the mantis survival, I try to simulate the natural environment
it lives in. Depending on their color and environmental conditions, their container will be decorated
mostly to match that. The dead leafs for example will have a lot of brown to orange and yellow
leaves in it's container. While the Orchid, will have white, pink, green and light colors in it's. This
is all done with silk flowers and leaves. I also like to put a branch or some tall stems from the silk
flowers for the mantis to hang from. They spend a great deal of time upside down, and molting almost
always is done hanging. So it is very important to have something for them to cling to while they are
moulting. The container will also need some screening for air exchange. The screening should be suitable
to keep the feeder food inside. Depending on the mantis food size requirements, some screening may
need to be very tight weaved, while other screening can be loosely weaved.
Speaking of feeder food, if feeding crickets to your mantis make sure that they eat the crickets
, crickets can and will eat the mantis if you are not careful. If you have other insects do not be
afraid to offer it to the mantis. They eat a variety of insects and supplementing their diet is
entertainment for you and good for them. They like moths, bees, yellow jackets, grasshoppers,
katydids, dragonflies & damselflies plus many other insects. One note, some insects like the crickets
eat other insects and this could be a danger to the mantis, such as the dragonfly and damselfly.
So check on insects you plan to feed your mantis if you are unfamiliar with what they eat. Also
Mantis Place offers a honey/pollen powder to coat your feeder food in for optional nutrition, and
food for your crickets and flies.
General nymph care Instructions:
Each day the nymph or mantis will need water and food (depending on species) desert species
do not require much water.
Try to figure out the size of food, by the size of mantis. Most 1to 3rd instar nymphs need fruit flies
& some bigger species need house flies at 2nd instar. Look at it this way, go by the size of the mantis
claws. Use a feeder it can hold easily in its claws. Give it one or two of the feeders each day. If it
appears still hungry maybe increase the food or go for bigger food.
The mantis will molt 6 to 8 times during its lifetime. This is a critical time for the mantis, it will
not want food. Some will stop eating a few days before molting. You can water it during this time by
misting in front of it, but take away any food it strikes at and misses or does not eat in 20 minutes.
Make sure the container they are in is 3 x's its height and 2x its width. After it molts give it a good
day to dry its skin. Do not bother it during it's pre and post molt time. When a mantis has wings, it is
an adult and will live a good 6 months or more depending on the species. Enjoy
A good beginner Mantis
For those of you that are new to Mantis keeping may be wondering what kind of mantis makes a good study
of what keeping and caring for a mantis means.
The one that I recommend here at MantisPlace is the Giant Asian, Ghost, or Budwing if you are looking
for a big mantis. If a small one is your desire, then go with the Miomantis or the Acanthrops or Multicolor!
All of these species are gentle mantis and good eaters, that molt easily and will keep you interested in the
hobby. They have an average life span, up to a year and will make a good pet even for the squemish!
Here's something that is fun to do with your mantis, Take a toothpick and put a drop of honey on the end of it.
Have your mantis on your hand and slowly bring up the toothpick underneath the mantis mouth
(this way it won't get scared) and touch the honey end to its mouth. The mantis will love this,
and different species do different things when eating honey. The Ghost for example will wiggle it's butt.
All of them will follow the toothpick down if you wish to place the honey on your hand, there they will suck
it off of you, I find this is a fun way to get the little ones interested in feeding and caring for the mantis
and becoming a bug lover early on in life.
The other bit of food the mantis loves is a piece of banana. Just take a smidge of banana and smash it onto
your hand or in front of them in their house. They will sniff the banana out and eat some of it. The fruit
flies love it too! I like to have one every now and then myself!
GOOD ENOUGH TO BE IN A CIRCUS!
To teach your mantis to fly or jump from hand to hand, start with him on one of your hands,
then offer the other hand just within reach of his raptor claws a little above its head. Do this
a few times to get him used to jumping or flying to you (only adults with wings can fly to you).
Don't tire it out, but the next day do it again, starting with the distance you did the day before, this time
on the second try, move your hand a little further away. Repeat this for a couple weeks. In no time at all
you will be able to amuse your family at how you taught it to come to you when you put your hand out!!!
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