Picture of proper care for a baby praying mantis
This Instructable will teach you how to care for a small or baby praying mantis of almost any species. everything from feeding, to handling.
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Step 1: Mantis basics

Picture of mantis basics
Now first we need to know some things about praying mantis's. in the wild there are many diffrent kinds of mantis. some of the normal pet species are chinese mantis, budwing mantis, and aisan giant mantis. praying mantis eat almost any living creature that is small enough to grap. the big mantis can eat hummingbirds and mice! praying mantis are also capable of flying but not very far.

Step 2: Cage

Picture of cage
your baby's cage is not going to need to be big. a plastic container or jar will work if your baby is about 1" long (that is a baby). you want a container that in more tall then wide but still wide enough that you can fit your hand to the bottom so that you can do maintenance.

Step 3: Inside the cage

Picture of inside the cage
now to make your mantis's habitat. for substrate ECO-earth works best (the coconut fiber kind). put about 1" layer of eco-earth on the bottom of the cage. now you can get elaborate with leaves and flowers but it is not needed. all you need is a good stick with some branches. make sure you have a pearch were your mantis can hand upside down so they can molt.

Step 4: Feeding and water

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Feeding is a little more difficult with baby mantis then with adults. this is because baby's need to eat smaller foods. fruit flys are the best but they can get out of the cage sometimes. I use little pinhead crickets, 1 or 2 will fill the mantis up for a few days. you do not half to do much for water because mantis's get most of there liquids from there food. just spray the cage lightly with water every few days.

Step 5: Handling and maintenance

you must be VERY careful when handling a baby mantis or any mantis in that matter. you must let the mantis crawl onto your hand you can't grab them or anything. you can lightly touch their back end to get them to move onto your hand. for maintenance make sure you keep the ground of the cage clean of any dead crickets and change the substrate every 2 weeks.

Step 6: Your done!

Picture of your done!
that is all you need to know about the care of a baby praying mantis! enjoy your new pet!
TristanB19 months ago

what type would this one me it is small and black in colour

oh yes one more question how come people say you shouldnt release non native mantis's in the area you live in? what does it hurt??

I know this is an old topic but the question was never properly answered and these comments do get read by others.

The other posters are correct that cross breeding is not the issue here.

You should never release a non-native anything into an area. The cane toad, zebra muscle, and asian carp are excellent examples why you should never do this. Additionally releasing non-native animals or plants into an area is a crime.

The Chinese and European mantises are naturalized species. They were released into the US during the the 1800s as a form of pest control. Their ubiquity means that even though they are not originally native and that they have become so established (read as damage done) as to not be considered a foreign pest anymore.

If you collect and raise non-native mantises please take steps to ensure that they do not escape from their enclosure into nature.

coolherps1 (author)  Scream[Aim]Fire6 years ago
because if the mantis breeds with a native mantis (wich they can do) the crossbreed could do damage to the area.
What are you talking about? Different genus' cannot crossbreed I have no idea where you get your information from.
coolherps1 (author)  MantisParadoxa5 years ago
uh the chinese mantis is the most common mantis in north america and it came from asia and cross bred with mantises from north america
the chineese mantis and the common mantis are too far apart in the animal kingdom, making their mating impossible
Species cannot crossbreed only ones in the same genus but you get only 1 generation nothing more as the larvae will be infertile.
Dolimyte1 year ago
Don't just add a bunch of crickets to the enclosure and think your mantis will eat when it's hungry. I did that once and awoke to find a pair mantis wing-covers and some well fed crickets. Now I raise all of my mantids free range in my garden to control pests. They are fiercely territorial and stay in the same area all season. Males take flight and move around when it's time to mate.
take26 years ago
How to catch a mantis: Mantises are fighters, so use one hand to confront it from the front. You may get a finger pinched, but unless it is one very big mantis, it wont even hurt. Use the other hand to approach very slowly from above its back and behind its head. grasp the mantis gently on the back between the pincers. Move it quickly to your box--the mantis can and usually will reach your fingers, so be fast! The idea is this--distract the critter, and approach from an unlikely direction. Remember that segmented eye bugs are severely distracted by moving objects and don't see slower things. I swat flies by wriggleing my fingers on one hand and swatting a few seconds later with the other. Works every time.
take26 years ago
I raised mantises when living in Japan as a kid. Here are some answers: Mantises molt every 3 to 6 weeks, depending on how much they grow. They grow depending on how much they eat. if you found a mantis in the wild, it is ok to return it to the wild. If you got it at a store, you should not release them. There are over 2000 varieties in various ecological nitches--your releasing one could mess up an entire sub-species. Don't keep a mantis egg sack--leave them in the wild, where you found them. They produce several hundred hatchlings, and are cool to watch, but if you keep them inside, they will hatch at the wrong time, and chances are you will discover mantises in your cupboard, in your food, in your bed, etc.. (Been there!) The egg sacks look like a ball of brown foam, flatter on the top and tapered downward, attached to a twig. A mantis will eat any other bug, including another mantis, so don't expect to cage them together, or if you do, make sure there are plenty of hiding places. Female mantises are very hungry after sex, so they often munch on their mate, sometime before they are quite finished even...
this is a very good instructable...
i just cought a mantis about an inch big about a week ago and ive been taking care of it.
i had to catch it night on a chain link fence because i can never find them during the day in flowers or my moms tomato garden idk why i never see them during the day =\

so far i have fed it a moth and a house fly, it seems to actualy chase the flies more then the moths imo

does any one know how often they molt and how long does a molt usualy last?

and also i used some potting soil for the ground is that a good idea?
coolherps1 (author)  Scream[Aim]Fire6 years ago
mantids probably live in your garden it is just almost impossible to find them. houseflys are good to, i would think the both would be harder for it to grab. they molt more then reptiles. make sure you have a pearch where your mantis can hang up side down because they need to be up side down to molt. potting soil is fine as long as it has no fertilizer and is organic.
canida6 years ago
Nice looking little mantis! What do you do with the adult - continue to keep it as a pet, or release it into the wild?
coolherps1 (author)  canida6 years ago
keep as a pet. unless you know for sure that the mantis you have is native to that area. adult mantids make greats pets!