Praying Mantis Facts
The praying mantis gets its name from the way their front legs bend up to their mouths, almost like they are praying. There are around 1,800 species of praying mantises around the world. They are predators within the wild that hunt in order to survive. Their heads are triangular shaped and have a long neck attached to their elongated bodies. They are able to turn their heads around a full 180 degrees in order to scan their surroundings and search for predators. Most praying mantis species are brown or green color to allow them to camouflage within their surroundings and stay safe amidst the plants. Understanding some praying mantis facts can help you better understand these creatures, their habitat and their lives as a whole.
Praying Mantis Diet
Praying mantises are carnivores and they will eat smaller insects and sometimes their own species. Some of the smaller insects that they eat include, but are not limited to roaches, flies, mosquitoes, butterflies, bees, crickets, aphids, grasshoppers, moths, spiders and beetles. Almost any smaller insect is in danger once a praying mantis spots them in their area. The praying mantis will stalk or ambush their food. They use their long front legs to ensnare their prey. The have fast reflexes and they are difficult to see with the naked eye when they snatch up their food. Their legs have spikes on them to help them grab the prey easily and pin it in place while they feast. A pet praying mantis will usually eat the small insects placed in their habitat in the same manner.
Praying Mantis Life Cycle
Part of learning praying mantis facts is learning about their life cycle. The praying mantis does not live a long life, since the average life span for those out in the wild and in captivity is only around 12 months. Bats, birds, spiders, frogs, fish and other animals become threats to the praying mantis while out in the wild and may cut their lives shorter than a year.
The praying mantis life cycle begins when a female praying mantis lays hundreds of eggs that are enclosed in a small case that is made of foamy material to insulate the larvae inside them. These egg cases are called ootheca. The females lay eggs on a regular basis. Each sack can contain anywhere from 100 to 400 eggs depending on the praying mantis that lays them. They eggs will sit in that particular place that they were laid for up to five months. Sometimes the mother will stay with the eggs and guard over them since they too, can be susceptible to being some other animal’s prey. It can take up to five weeks for the sack to fully develop. Once the eggs hatch, the tiny praying mantis nymphs that come out of them look just like their parents but on a smaller scale. They then grow quite fast over the span of a few months.
Praying Mantis Habitats
The praying mantis habitat can vary depending on the species and if they are a wild or pet praying mantis. Praying mantises tend to live in bushy fields or gardens and can actually be found in a lot of gardens throughout the United States. The climate is usually warm and tropical or temperate. Praying mantises are prominent throughout Northern Africa, Asia, Southern Europe and North America. Green, warm habitats are most common for wild praying mantis habitats.They can camouflage well within their surroundings.
Owning a praying mantis as a pet can be really fun since they are harmless to humans. Searching for a praying mantis for sale can be easier than you may think since a lot of people choose to keep these beautiful creatures as pets. You can find egg sacks on your own in the garden or order them from a nursery, pet store, or online store of your choice. A praying mantis has to have the right food for its size. A young pet praying mantis nymph will eat smaller flies. As your pet praying mantis grows it will eat crickets and other larger insects. Praying mantis pets will want habitats which have leafy greens, brown sticks, and remain warm. The enclosure that you keep them in should not be too big, but around three to four times their size. Grass and dirt can be added to the bottom of their habitat and holes should be put in the top to ensure that air is able to get in and out. Cross ventilation is important. The inside of the habitat should be misted with water very lightly on a daily basis to keep the environment humid. You can give them water inside a small bowl inside the habitat, but your pet praying mantis could fall in it and drown so it is better to use wet paper towels or just mist when your praying mantis pets are young.
If you own more than one praying mantis, they should be housed in separate containers since they may have conflict and may actually eat each other depending on the species. Molting is also a normal phase for them to go through and they will do so a few times throughout their life span. Adding vitamins and minerals to their insect meals is not essential to their well-being, but can help them live longer lives while in captivity.
Praying Mantis Fun Facts
Female praying mantises tend to eat their male mates while mating with them, or shortly after.
Some species of praying mantis are able to get as large as a tea cup or up to 6 inches long.
Praying mantises can be used as natural pest control due to the fact that they are carnivores and will eat the smaller insects that ruin your plants.
The Chinese Mantises that are seen throughout the United States are exotic. They were introduced to the area and are not native to it.
Praying mantises are closely related to termites and cockroaches.
Praying mantises have binocular-like eyesight, but only have one ear. Some species can use this ear to detect bat ultrasound and know when they need to dive bomb while flying to avoid being bat dinner.
A praying mantis will bite the back of their victims neck to paralyze them before eating them.
The three most common species of mantis are the European Mantis, Carolina Mantis and the Chinese Praying Mantis.
- Praying mantises are actually referred to as praying mantids in many areas. Both are technically correct.