How To Raise A Pet Praying Mantis

A praying mantis as a pet can make a unique and delightful pet. These unusual creatures will give hours of pleasure to its owner. However, proper care must be taken to keep your praying mantis strong and healthy.

Your praying mantis will need an enclosure that is at least three times longer than the body length and two times wider than the body width. This will allow plenty of room for the praying mantis to walk around and shed its exoskeleton (outer shell) when necessary. A good rule of thumb is to use a container that is at least 6 X 6 in diameter.

The container should be well ventilated. Mesh or screen is a great option to use for the sides. Also make sure the container has a secure lid as the praying mantis is smart and will sense an escape route.

Next, fill the enclosure with appropriate substances for your pet praying mantis. Start with something on the bottom to hold water such as tissue paper, shredded wood, bark or sand. The purpose of this is to keep the humidity somewhat constant. Every praying mantis requires a specific temperature and humidity to survive. It is advisable to speak with someone at a pet store or look online for your specific species.

A quick praying mantis fact: there are over 2000 species of praying mantis!

Add branches and other items your pet praying mantis can climb or sit on. Make sure to choose objects that are safe and that there is plenty of room to move between the objects. A living plant is a good option if there is room for it.

Unlike pets such as a dog or cat, your pet praying mantis does not need to eat every day. A typical feeding schedule is one to four days depending on the species, the type of food you are providing and where it is in its life cycle.

There are three stages to the praying mantis life cycle; the egg stage, nymph stage and adult stage. The life span of an adult praying mantis is typically six months.

The praying mantis eats only live insects for food. A nymph will require smaller bugs such as aphids, micro crickets, gnats and fruit flies to name a few. For a molting mantis serve up larger sized bugs though not those that a full grown adult would eat. During the adult stage your praying mantis can eat butterflies, grasshoppers, crickets, houseflies and other insects. An adult female praying mantis will typically eat more than an adult male.

To make sure your pet praying mantis is eating the food you bring it, you may want to watch until it catches the prey or offer it with a tweezers directly to the mantis. Otherwise, if the bugs hide or escape your praying mantis could end up starving.

The praying mantis is small, producing little waste so its enclosure will need infrequent cleaning. However, be sure to remove partially eaten prey so they don’t start to rot and smell. When cleaning the enclosure simply remove the bottom absorbent and use hot water to wipe. Do not use detergent or other chemicals as this may harm your pet praying mantis. Once the enclosure is dry simply add fresh absorbent material in the bottom and replace twigs, plants and other items and its done!

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