Introduction: Proper Care for a Baby Praying Mantis

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This Instructable will teach you how to care for a small or baby praying mantis of almost any species. everything from feeding, to handling.

Step 1: Mantis Basics

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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

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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

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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!

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


gammonmom (author)2017-07-13

So I ordered an egg pod and in a few weeks they hatched. I didn't want them eating each other as I assumed they would do so I let them go in my shrubs outside. Now I'm worried that they won't get enough to eat. Surely nature will take care of them? Any suggestions? There are about 75 of them. I spread them out so they weren't close to each other on arbervitae trees and yew shrubs that I know have insects large and small in them all the time (not to mention ants).

srodrikh16 (author)2016-04-26

My son came home with two baby mantis they gave him at school... In a small plastic cup and a cover with a few tack holes. We're in Arizona and it's fairly cool temp now. But I won't be able to get the earth and branch or stick for them until tomorrow afternoon, will they be ok until tomorrow?

DorreenA (author)srodrikh162016-05-19

We ha praying mantises when I was growing up including a mantis egg "sack" they will eat each other if put together.
FYI - For anyone interested we also had an adult manis with an injured front "arm" my parents used to do a couple of things to help him, 1. Dad used to catch the flies for him put them on a toothpick Sam (the mantis pretty much stayed in the dinning room window) dad stuck the toothpick in the screen so Sam could eat it. 2. My parents would also put a tiny bit of raw hamburger on a toothpick & again put the toothpick in the screen for Sam to eat. They do prefer live prey but since Sam couldn't catch it himself hetook what my parents fed him.
(Dont know if I said anything helpful here but hopefully something I said will help someone.

ZacharyM42 (author)DorreenA2016-07-10

Definitely helped me cuz i just found a baby missing a front leg. Now ill just catch a baby fly and feed it with a dulled out sewing needle until he molts and regrows it but it shouldnt be too much harder than raising black widow hatchlings☺

Dimondlover61 (author)srodrikh162016-05-05

I'm not a perfusion all but they can last about 2-3 days I think but 1 day will be fine

they should even last 5 or even 8 days without no worries.

RyanM188 (author)2016-04-02

I live in southern California and where i live we have so many mantises and right now in spring there are so many baby mantises about half an inch long each and i can easily catch them. this gives great information so if anyone has any tips please tell me

Dimondlover61 (author)RyanM1882016-05-05

Always have fruit flies for their baby stage

Ava as in Avalon (author)2016-04-30

I live in Florida and at school they gave us baby mantises. But mine is really small. He/she isn't very lively. How long can they go with out food? I need to get Squishy some food but like I said he/she is small like smaller then what u said they were.

about 2 or 3 days.

alexishunter (author)2015-08-16

I got one. He/she appears to have an injered back leg. What should i feed it. Its a young inch long mantise. How should i care for it. Do they get their hydration through their food? How much do they eat a day?

Scream[Aim]Fire (author)2009-07-21

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??

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.

Actually if the speces is close enough they can create a hybrid an example is a liger. It is a tiger crossed with a lion. These hybrids are steril ad can not breed

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

freeza36 (author)coolherps12012-03-23

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.

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.

TristanB1 (author)2014-10-19

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

Dolimyte (author)2014-01-17

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.

take2 (author)2009-07-25

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.

take2 (author)2009-07-25

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...

Scream[Aim]Fire (author)2009-07-21

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?

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.

canida (author)2009-07-21

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)canida2009-07-21

keep as a pet. unless you know for sure that the mantis you have is native to that area. adult mantids make greats pets!

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