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Feeding baby praying mantis (newly hatched) Answered

FYI to anyone who has or wants to know what you can feed praying mantis babies right after they hatch. The egg sack i have been "protecting" (i thought) til spring has just hatched a day ago and its only december, my plan was to let them go after they hatched in the spring, but since i didnt keep the sack cold, it hatched now. After i freaked out for abit seeing i have about 50 or more TINY mantis all over the container i put the sack in, i called and called ALL over but no one would take them, and i cant let them just die. Everything i read about them says they only eat LIVE bugs..and they have to be small...really really small..like pinhead crickets or fruit flies...well...YUCK..i dont want that in the house...but if thats what they need then so be it..UNTIL...i called a bait store and the guy (i wanted to KISS him for this info) told me to put RAW MEAT on a string so it sticks in small peices and hang it in the container..IT WORKS!! they went right for it!! SOOOO.........if you dont want or cant get tiny live food for them...FEED THEM RAW HAMBURER MEAT on a string!! this picture is the mom, isnt she beautiful! haha..i mean it!


For the student who said he's skeptical because mantises brains are so small, consider this: their brains are not small relative to the size of their body. If that were true, our brains could probably be considered "small." Give credit where credit is due; and, have some respect for the expert who is kindly and patiently responding to your "naivete." While it's fine to question, you should also have some respect for peoples' expertise and the for their life experience.

PLEASE RESPOND ASAP!! My daughter got two egg cases as a little project to do, but we only got a few fruit flies and there's around 150! Do they need to eat the moment they are hatched? Or could they wait a day or two? She's extremely worried they won't last the night without any food, since we can't release them til tomorrow... Thank you!!

You'll want to know that just like keeping a wild bird as a pet, if you only feed the mantids the raw meat from a string, there's a good chance that when released to the wild, they won't do well fending for themselves. (They will, however, be much more apt to adapt due to instinct.) More importantly, the Chitin that all insect exoskeletons are made of is in very small amounts in beef. In fact, if you ever gave your dog something called "Program" to get rid of fleas, all Program does is flush the Chitin out of his system. When the fleas lay their eggs, they can't hatch. Insects absolutely NEED Chitin, and mammals do not. I would strongly recommend adding any kind of insect to their diets. Far better than hung hamburger is hung pieces of nightcrawler (bait store) and as they get older and larger, start putting live mealworms and crickets in with them. This will both teach them how to hunt, as well as give them the needed nutrients to grow up healthy.

Praying mantises are insects... they don't learn to hunt; it is purely instinctual. I agree with the chitin statement though.

Actually, do this experiment yourself. You CAN actually "teach" an insect NOT to hunt. Take mantids from a young age, and hand-feed them until their adults, then put them in the wild. They'll die of starvation. While hunting IS instinctual, just as with any higher animal, instinct can be overridden.

Yeah it's good for them to eat live insects, but they USUALLY only eat or will strike at moving objects they identify as food. It is innately programmed, as they are insects. It is hard to override instinct in insects.

Also, I asked my Animal Behavior teacher, who has a Ph.D. in spider behavioral ecology, just to be sure and she told me that hunting in insects is, yes, innate.

And a question I have about your previous statement:
How do you know the mantids will die of starvation once you release them. Are you supposed to put radio tracking devices on them and monitor their movement?

Newp, if I had radio tracking devices that small, I'm sure I'd find a much more sinister use for them. However, when I was a kid I would often keep mantids as pets. At first, it was one or two attached to a "leash" at the end of my bed. (It was something I'd read in an old "Foxfire" book about how people hundreds of years ago would sometimes tether them near where they wanted to get rid of pests.) I became so interested in them that instead of letting them eat bugs, I started collecting bugs to hand feed them. This is a hobby I still have to this day, and in the late summer/fall I'll find a large mantid near the end of her lifespan and keep her as a pet until she dies of natural causes. My last one was named "Pearl" and she even had a neat personality. We don't give insects nearly enough credit.

At any rate, when I was a kid I would often find the ootheca (egg sacks) and hatch them indoors in a fairly large fish tank.  I'd raise them on small ants and aphids (and a considerable amount of cannibalism) and eventually let them go.  Occasionally I would take one as a pet from a young age, and hand feed it.  After a short amount of time, it would actually learn where I preferred it to stay.  It would stay in that general area and wait for me to bring its food.  Literally every time I kept one for a month or two, then tried to return it to the aquarium (where the crickets, grasshoppers, and de-winged flies were dropped in to feed them) my "pet" would end up dying without eating anything, while those that had stayed in the tank having to fend for themselves survived just fine.  

I wasn't intentionally doing an experiment at that point, but I did learn that you can actually "train" insects, even to the point of training them to be less likely to follow their own instinct.  

When I grew up I worked with some of the world's top entomologists in Cairo Egypt (I was Army, doing medical research) and when I talked to them about my experiences as a child, they were not at all surprised.  They had no problem believing that insects could, just like every other creature, be "taught" to some degree, even when that teaching went against their ingrained instinct.  

This is very easy to attempt this experiment yourself.  You will see that within HOURS, not days, a mantis will lose its instinctual fear of you and happily accept food from your hand without trying to attack.  Do this for long enough, then try to reintroduce the mantis to the wild (or in this case, a controlled environment) and you will see that in many cases, the mantis will lose its desire to hunt for food, and will actually wait for you to feed it until it dies.

Despite the tiny brain, I think there's a lot more going on with insects and animals than we give them credit for.  Our own brain is not that much different, only in scale.

Oh my goodness, your just like me! I have been into praying mantinds for 3 years and name them as well! Today I went to the nursery because my Manty laid 3 egg sacs, but never hatched, and found a baby one, actually it found me!I so love her and named her Mini Manty! Everyone calls me the "Mantid Whisperer" because they appear out of nowhere and suddenly there on my arm or leg !!

I find them fascinating and wish I was an entomologist. I can't believe how many species there is! Hers my Mini Manty...


I agree totally with what you say. In fact when they realize they are not in jeopardy, I would go as far as to say a Mantid will seek you out.
They are intelligent little creatures and like human company, and will very gladly eat what you give them, and live in close proximity to you.
I often befriend a mantid (usually at the end of autumn) who wants to be indoors (it's their choice, always) living in herbaceous plants on my kitchen windowsill. They will resist being put back outdoors and if you do put them out will wait for you in the same spot, then readily get on your hand to be transported back indoors, and one I have even had make his way from outdoor plants BACK to the front door and be waiting on it. Also they love being picked up and carried around on your sleeve. They can certainly seek you out.
One female laid FOUR egg cases over time when she was living indoors with us and would attempt to reach out for your hand to get carried about the place.
We as humans should stop being so vain as to decree categorically what can and can't form bonds in the animal and insect world, and just observe more.
Thankyou Javin, for confirming for me what I had already discovered for myself.
My last Mantid for this winter has just passed away not half an hour ago, and I am glad that I had him share his last weeks with me. Bye Pat, you'll be missed.
I am sure though that come next autumn there will be another mantid who needs a home. I'll be ready...

around 2 years ago when i was at school there were these kids that were throwing a mantis at eachother and laughing saying "Oh my god it sticks that's awesome" I walk up to them and one says "watch this" and I was horrified not of the mantis but how they were treating (what with my family being very respectful of species rights) to which I responded "Well duh, if you were being thrown at something that if you didn't cling on to it you would be hurt you would do the samething" I told them to give it to me they put it in my hand and could tell this thing was terrified because it bit me of course I understood why and whe it calmed down but remained still is when my curiosity was peaked when I remembered when my mom told me that she loved the because when they would climb on her and it tickled so i rolled up my sleeve to my sweatshirt (what with it being autumn) to try and get it to walkup my arm and it looked up at me and I looked at it and it walked up my arm without me giving it a nudge or anything like it understood what I wanted and it did tickle a little, and some jerk decided to walk up behind me and it was on my shoulder he grabbed it off my shoulder crushed it and threw it on the ground i was pissed and if i weren't for the little kids coming out I would have beaten him within an inch of his life I was so worried for it so I moved it into the grass where it wouldn't get stepped on the next day I look over to where I put it and guess what's propped up against the wall the little mantis I was so releved that it was okay and so what I did was I hung out with the mantis for a while and then what I did was I took it over to the side of the school and placed it down so it could be free the next day there it was again and yes I am sure it was the same one propped up at the same spot just chillin' and when I walked near it, it climbed up to the window-sil as if to say 'Hey it's you' and it felt like it was grateful that I cared about it I got a little teary eyed so what I did was I decided I would bring it home I put my hand down next to it and sure enough it walked onto my hand and when got on the bus my bus driver gve me a look of confusion and I told her i was taking it home she didn't care as long as it didn't get loose you know from my hand and it sort of gave me look like 'please don't make me leave' the liitle kids were a little stupid cause they were like "are you gonna kill it?" to which i responded "No i am taking it home so I can take care of it" and then the same kid was like "can I kill it." and then I repeated myself an he just kept asking if he could kill it and I just kept ignoring him and I just sat by the window well away from the kid and it just sort of just watched me the whole time and i had no where to keep it so i kept it outside and it survived for like a two weeks and then somehow it got decapitated an it was a small ball shaped nub where its head would be attached completely inconsistant with if it were to have mated and by the way male mantis' die a week after fertilzation even if the female doesn't eat it.

That's actually rather interesting. Sorry if I seemed obnoxious; I am rather naive. I'm still just a high school student. But when I think of insects I generally think of their behavior to be very flighty, like trying to catch a moth or crane fly. I don't have much experience with raising mantids, as I found an egg sack just a couple of days ago. When I went to collect it, there was a parasitic wasp laying its eggs inside of the sack (that was the main reason I was very interested in it).

I found a praying mantis one day while walking back to my dorm, while we were collecting insects for my independent study (we were putting together a small insect collection for our biology lab). We'd freeze the insects, we didn't use kill jars with chemicals. I carried it back on my hand because I didn't have a container for it. I have to say that it was the most interesting insect I've ever picked up. Half of the time when I catch insects they try to fly or scurry away. However, it would just crawl around on my hand and stop and just look at me for a while. It was really interesting (and rather creepy) to watch.

And yes, I agree that insects do not get enough credit, as do pretty much any other species of animal. Humans can be pretty pretentious :P. I mean we have ideas of religion that say we are the only important thing on Earth and lots of people think that we have stopped evolving and that humans are the "ideal and final species". But I can more clearly see from your story why a lot of animal behaviorists are particularly interested in insects, as my teacher is. I might try doing that experiment when I get more time in the summer.

I'm not quite sure how human and insect brains differ because I've never directly studied it. From what I can assume from reading some general information in books, magazines, or journal articles, is that insect brains are not complex enough to feel pain or to be conscious. The fact that you say you can "train" or condition them to lose their instinctual urges is really interesting, though. For me, it brings into question how learning and conditioning works in any animal.

However, I think that it's kind of difficult for us (humans) to be completely correct and unbiased because we are just very evolved creatures. Our brains (and consciousness) often trick us. I'm just not quite sure how accurate a lot of our assumptions and interpretations are when it comes to these things. Maybe I'm just over-thinking it.

No worries! You didn't sound obnoxious at all. You sounded like someone who was given conflicting information by an expert in the field. Nothing obnoxious about that. Research is a great thing!  

With the mantis, it's really easy for me to anthromorphisize because of the way they'll actually turn their head to look at you.  I've always thought that made them seem more intelligent.  Once they get to trust you, they'll even be very gentle about taking insects from you. 

I've got some pictures of "Pearl" around here somewhere.  She was my favorite so far.  I actually kept her in my office cubicle at work where she would stay on top of my monitor waiting for her food.  She was there for almost six months, well into winter, before she finally died of old age.  I even had other people at work going out and collecting insects so they could come and feed her.  For all I know she died of obesity and diabetes.  :D

Before going into the veterinary field I thought very much as others do.  That animals are lesser evolved and don't have the same range of emotions that we humans do.  It's very easy to believe this because it strokes our ego.  Then I saw a film about "Koko" the gorilla that learned to speak sign language.  The easy answer there was, "Oh, she's just repeating motions she's learned to get a treat."  Until she started making up her own words for things that her trainers hadn't given her words for.  For instance, she called turkey "christmas bird".  This shows an incredibly complex thought process.  She associated the food with a time of the year, showing that she actually understood the concept of differing times of the year, and then to make up a word because she wasn't given one just floored me.  This got me to rethinking what I "knew" about animals.

It's not a far stretch then to question the lower species, dogs and cats for example.  You begin to see things that you just can't explain through instinct.  Dolphins saving drowning victims, showing an understanding of what the very concept of "drowning" means.  Dogs running into burning buildings to save children that aren't part of their "pack".  Wild animals learning to use primitive tools out of the blue, such as the herons that have observed people feeding fish pieces of bread, and eventually learned to pick up some of the bread themselves and instead of eating it, fly off and dip it into the water to use as "bait" to catch fish.  Instinct simply can't explain this, which only leaves higher brain functions that we don't give them credit for.  

Is it such a stretch to think that perhaps even an insect is possibly smarter than just a mindless mechanical automaton running on pure instinct?

Eh, I see where you're coming from, but I'm still skeptical. When I read your story about the mantis learning it got me to rethink how we define learning and intelligence. I really don't think that mantises have large enough brains to make conscious decisions. I could be wrong in how I am approaching this though. It's hard for me (or anyone, really) to try to understand things like decision-making without assuming consciousness or higher intelligence.

I think your question won't be solved or fully understood until we know more about intelligence and consciousness by studying the whole spectrum of animals.

The outlook for Ethology is very exciting. :3

Really, you're absolutely right. It forces us to find a defined line for what's considered "intelligence." One could easily argue that a human is no more intelligent than an ant in that absolutely every thought and decision we make is based on 1.) Pre-programming (instinct, inherited traits, etc.) and 2.) External stimuli (what have we experienced in our life, both physically and emotionally?) The lines for what denotes intelligence become very greyed without a hard, defining trait that makes us different. You even mentioned that insects don't feel "pain." They certainly SEEM to if you stab them with a needle. What is pain if not impulses sent to your brain to alert you of physical danger? Even the concept of self-awareness and sentience then comes into question. It's all very philosophical. (But don't think I'm some tree-hugger, either. I'm all about a nice fat steak. My reasons for a lack of guilt may just be different than other people's.)

i was searching for a way to reply to this question of whether insects "feel" pain as we do. I'm quite sure that they don't consciously feel pain the way we do. But once you delve into this issue the concepts of "what is pain" and "what is consciousness" and "how can we analyze any of this without being consciously biased" come into question and I'm lost at this point :P.

I'm late to the party, but just came across this article. "While hunting IS instinctual, just as with any higher animal, instinct can be overridden." This statement is false. Instincts *cannot* be overirdden. That completely goes against what the definition of an instinct is. Perhaps you are looking for a different word? Animal and insect behavior can be diverted with certain conditioning, but not instincts.

I'm actually a biologist myself who, for the past 6 months, has been a part of a large mantis study I think many of you would find interesting. Since birth the manti were kept in enclosed environments and hand fed. After 3 months of this constant human interaction, we changed their habitat. Instead of being in large tanks, they were placed in very large screen enclosures (similar to a small green house), which perfectly mimicked their natural, wild environment. Live insects were released daily, hand feeding and human interaction ceased. We wanted to find out, as many people in this discussion have asked, will Mantis hunt on their own when raised in an enclosure since birth and fed daily (non-live food) by humans? The answer was yes. Hunting *is* instinctual, and even if they were hand fed from birth, they WILL hunt on their own. It's truly amazing, and was an incredible study to participate in.

To OP- I noticed you used "fight or flight" as an example of an instinctual, human trait that can be overridden. That does not make sense. Fight or flight is a VERY complex human response that *cannot* be over ridden. We are able to control our reaction to this (as we always have). For example if we are at home with our family in a safe environment and someone comes up behind you without you knowing, it shocks you and sends adrenaline through your body. Your mind immediately processes if there is a threat or not- but we CANNOT control the basic fight or flight...only our reaction to the stimuli and perceived threat. Again, this is a perfect example OF an instinct...not the opposite. We have always been able to control our reaction and process the event...both now, and thousands of years ago when our ancestors were hunting on the plains and had to make a quick decision if there was a bear behind you you had to fight or flee...or if it was a small, harmless animal.

Instincts cannot be overridden. Might want to study your biology. An instinct is an inborn, pre-programmed set of behaviors.

I'm sorry, but you're simply wrong. "Fight or Flight" are examples of our very own instincts, and you most certainly can override those desires. Please do the research before telling someone they are incorrect so you don't look so... Well, you know.

I would tend to mostly disagree. Higher thinking humans can consciously decide to ignore instinct because a soldier or firefighter knows what the goal is. Also, they have training that affords them to have less fear. Insects have no goal beyond the immediate and do not posses higher thought ability.

However, I am not purporting that an adult insect who has never hunted will instantly be adept at the task. I suggest an adult that starves is not deprived of instinct, but rather has not developed adult hunting skills. I would argue the instinct still exists.

"Insects have no goal beyond the immediate and do not posses higher thought ability."

I hear this statement made all the time as if it's fact, even though there's no actual test to determine what HAS "higher thought," mostly because there's no definition as to what DENOTES "higher thought."  

We are constantly learning that we're wrong about pretty much everything.  This subject included.  At first, it was "known" that only humans had the "higher thought" processes.  This belief is not only incredibly vain, but was provably wrong as we would later find out.  Koko the gorilla first challenged that thought, then it moved on to the bonobos, chips, and various other primate species.  So this "higher thought" concept was then expanded to cover primates, and species "closely related."  Our vanity was willing to stretch a little, but it's still there.

Then we found that dolphins exhibited actions in clinical studies that could only be explained by "higher thought" so the net was widened to include mammals.  Scientists then have a hard time explaining away the birds that watched human children feeding fish pieces of bread, then worked out for themselves that if they stole a piece of bread, and didn't eat it (which instinct would ALWAYS tell them to do) but rather dipped it in the water as bait, they could then catch the fish that came to eat it.  

Now studies are being done on african grey parrots (specifically, Alex was the most promising, but he died a few years back) to show that they have full cognitive thought.

Our vanity wants to keep believing that the size of our brains makes us smarter, but science has proven this wrong repeatedly.  

I'll leave you with this:


Here is a praying mantis that after 30 seconds "learns" that the moving object either isn't food, or can't be caught, and proceeds to ignore it.  If he had "no goal beyond the immediate" and was an automoton that simply grabs and eats anything that moves, this "learning" would not be possible.  He would endlessly attempt to catch the dot.  Period.  That's how creatures running on raw instinct work.  There's no capacity to learn.  This is the crux of my argument from the beginning.

And here's the same mantis one month earlier trying to catch a dot on the computer screen:


So what was learned?

However, I never purported that animals don't learn. Further, references to mammals and avians are not well-grounded comparisons to insects. But even insects learn as we know a bee makes its way back to the hive, and on a lesser cognitive ability, insects can navigate and react to moving leaves and predators.

Additionally, the original assertion was not that a mantis cannot learn red bugs taste bad and blue bugs taste good, thus don't bother with red bugs.

The original assertion was simply that an adult mantis that has never eaten live food innately will figure out a live bug is food. That this instinct exists without learning. Somehow, that assertion has morphed into discussion whether insects can learn or not, which was never debated.

Finally, if a non-hunting mantis takes longer to recognize food is also no proof that instincts have been "overridden". It is proof that a mantis can learn to recognize what is food and be a better hunter.

My only expression was doubt about overriding instincts. I still very much doubt that. Might as well put two people who have never seen the opposite sex together and expect celibacy. Laughable.

"Instincts cannot be overridden. Might want to study your biology."

The "original assertion" was that instincts could not be overridden. Please keep up with the flow of the debate prior to giving snarky responses.

You are certainly welcome to "doubt" whatever you wish without trying the experiment yourself. (I've personally done it, so have no reason to "doubt" it."

Finally, the only thing "laughable" is your assumption that, due to instinct, two people who have never seen the opposite sex by the time they've sexually matured would just start banging like a screen door in a tornado as soon as they do. 

The story of silk worms is very interesting as they've actually changed from a wild insect over time in much the same manner as your experiement suggests. Many insect species learn and can be trained.

I used to have a pet Chinese Mantis that I feed almost exclusively with thawed out frozen brine shrimp... the kind you buy in the pet stores for tropical fish. The Mantid layed numerous egg sacs, even though it didn't have a mate; mantids can lay viable egg sacks without a mate (though the offspring are all clones of the female). She lived a very long time, and did great! Brine shrimp is full of Chitin; it is a perfect food for mantids, having a lot of good vitamins and enzymes (and chitin). I placed the egg sacs out in the garden.
Regarding the brine shrimp: the adult would eat it in lumps, right off of my index finger. She liked to be held. I've never feed young mantids; however, what I would do is get a very shallow dish and put it in their enclosure. I would then place brine shrimp in the middle of the dish... with some small amount of water (a few drops or so) for the shrimp to float in so it doesn't dry out. That should work; once they get a taste of it, they'll be back for more!
I buy my brine shrimp in the large, solid size (rather than in the separated, individual segmented trays); it is a lot cheaper that way. In the freezer, keep it triple wrapped up in newspaper that is within a larger plastic bag. Right now, I am just feeding my tropical fish with it. However, one day I might go back to having a preying mantis for a pet. (Mine far outlived all the wild mantids that died during the winter kill.) Additionally, mine laid numerous huge egg sacks. I kept her in a large, 30 gallon long terrarium; mantises should not be kept in small containers. (On the last day of her life, she kept "kissing" her front arms... as if she were telling herself 'goodbye.') She was a real beauty!


2 years ago

Thank u SOOOO much for this article! I had the EXACT same thing happen. My pet mantis, Juno, passed away just last week, Xmas Eve to be exact :( , and her egg sack that she laid inside the tank just hatched a couple of days ago! I had no idea there would be so many come out and that they would be as small as they are. (I counted 88 of them...the ones I could see anyway!) I didn't know what to do to feed them bc obviously there are no flies or nats around at the moment..or ants for that matter! I will try this tonight. Thanks again!!

Hello folks, I did the exact same thing as the person above. I brought a cocoon in and thought they wouldn't hatch until spring. I thought they were controlled by time rather the temperature, oops wrong. I brought them in just before Christmas and they hatched this morning (01/14/2015). The crazy thing is, is that I did not put the cocoon in a container. I put it in my cacti garden. So I have a bunch of Mantis running wild in my bedroom. I sprayed my cacti this morning and saw movement. Well at least I can give them water but they keep looking at me as if to say,"Hey man wears a McDonald's or someplace around here we can grab a bite to eat?" Well I didn't have any ground beef to hang on a string because I just used it in a big pot of chili, lol. So I squished some feta cheese on a piece of ribbon and hung it on my jade plant, I rang a little dinner bell but I guess they haven't smelled it yet, or just doesn't do anything for them. It's only been hanging about 10 minutes, so Ill keep an eye on it and let you all know if they decide to pig out or not. I'll get them some ground beef or something tomorrow if they don't like the feta. I wish I had them in a contained area, but oh well, I'll do the best I can. Hope they don't jump in bed with me tonight. You guys down below shouldn't argue so much. Be nice, be happy, it's all good! Don't take life so serious, it's temporary, and no I don't want to argue about that statement, agree or not, I don't care.

PEACE and LOVE to all!

I'll let ya know how it goes.


4 years ago

My mantis died just after she laid her eggs. The sac is stuck to the side of the aquarium. Not sure what to do leave it alone or try and remove it. I was thinking of keeping it where it is and just letting the sack hatch in my tank, and then just letting them go in my yard once they hatch . I live just outside San Francisco so it does not get super cold in the winter like low 50's . It is mid September now. So temps are pretty moderate now. Any experts on this out there?

I left my mantis with my friend over the holidays thinking it was infertile after being told so by the pet shop, thinking it was infertile i just left my friend with a few instructions on feeding. i got back to find a couple of egg sacks empty but after a through check there are no baby mantises (possibly they have been eaten by each other, a cricket put in there for the mothers food, or their own mother). 1 day later i soon find a live baby hanging out of a sack. by the looks of it the whole mantis is out but is still clinging onto the sack. however i have cleared out the mother and the cricket and put them into a separate cage pf their own. I have got this far but am stuck on what to do next. any pointers?

Does anyone know where I can get a mantis from? I don't see too many in the wild here in north central Ohio. And pet stores that I've asked just look at me funny. Nothing new there. lol.

Any ideas? Feel free to msg my inbox here. Thanks!

UPDATE: I found an egg sack earlier this spring and they just hatched! I'm a daddy to about 150 or so little ones. HUGE thanks to all of those that went out of their way to help me on this one. you know who you are. Mike, Stephanie, etc. Thank you ;o)


When I was very young I used to live in Toledo Ohio. There wasn't much to do for a kid in Toledo but I just happened to live in an area of North Toledo where there was an old what we called a marsh. It was nothing but an undeveloped patch of land full oh trees and bushes and mud. Somewhere for a kid to pretend that he was anything else but stuck in Toledo. This marsh was loaded up with praying mantis caccoons in the winter. They would usually be about 2 to 4 feet off the ground usually in very plain sight. They were usually held up by a small stick and I would break the stick off about 4 inches or so below the caccoon and carry it home. It was a prize to me. Good luck in finding them but they are there in Northern Ohio. Just have to keep your eyes peeled real good. I found them and I imagine that they are still there. Just keep looking at pictures of caccoons on the internet to get an idea of what they look like and you will find some I know it .mk.phillips@yahoo.com

Thanks for that reply :) The story made me smile. I never thought of looking for caccoons. I just know I rarely see mantis' here. I'm going to start looking at pictures today, and I'm sure I'll find one eventually. I'm down in the Mansfield area, and I've got a few "natural" places near here that I can look. Thanks for the inspiration! I owe you one.


AH! I came home and they are hatching! I don't have any bugs to feed them. I'm in Western NC, and it's warmed up nicely - I put a couple outside. Did I just screw up. Lows in 50's high 70's, been super wet. How long can they go without eating when born? Should I trap them and put them in jars until I find bugs? Get hot towels? Boil Water??


I would think they would do their best out in the wild (if there are plants around, there are bugs :-)

My baby Egyptian mantis is just hanging upside-own and im not sure why, is this because its shedding? if so should i wait for her to finnish shedding before i feed her, shes been like this for just over a day now.

Got a new Egyptian Mantid today. Which species do you suggest I should get next?

Deleted my post questioning if the images are the mother or the little ones... :)
You wrote it...

well... I dont call them "beautifull", but "very interesting".
They way nature shaped them is really fascinating...

They are hard to breed the female eats the head of the male while they mate and they eat their own kind.


so, im like really really late on this, like super late, but i love this whole thing, it so facinating that you can "train" them, my friend here on campus cought one yesterday, i made it a cage and everything, and it turns out its pregnant!!, sooo im getting a baby when its born, and im so exited! im such an animal person, at a young age i turned to buddhism and your not aspost to kill any living thing, so insted of being scared and killing bugs, i started getting close to every kind. i live in north carolina attending a trade school called job corps, and let me tall you, they praying mantises are BIG! i've saw a few now, but let me tell you, if i see another, trust me, im keeping it! the ONLY thing i dont like is, you cant see there expresions, and when i was holding my friends it turned and looked at me, i swear it has that face like it wants to eat me!!!, but, ima give it a chance, thank you for all the help you guys, much love!!<3

i pressed some hamburger meat in a piece of a chopstick and stuck it in my aquarium with my manti peoples and they arent going for it

Let me try this again.. Last time it posted a previous comment when I tried to answer. O.O What you want to do is put the hamburger meat into their mouth. Once they get a taste for it, they'll eat it. A few dozen times, and they'll begin to take it willingly once the learn to associate it with food.

OK, I realise this discussion is quite old, but I'm seeking an informed opinion.
For several Springs now, I've ordered & hatched Mantids of various species in hopes of having organic bug control in my garden. (Plus, I admire them as being simply fascinating)
EVERY year, within days of them being released, there is some weather catastrophe, (torrential rains, gail force winds, and last year a record breaking drought), and out of literally a 1000, maybe 2 survive. This year, I ordered as late as possible, and am entertaining the idea of "fattening them up" a bit before releasing them. But now that I know what to feed, I'm concerned that I'll condition them not to hunt. How long is too long, do you think, before they can no longer fend for themselves?
I'm relatively certain that I did this same disservice to a salamander that we released back into the wild this Spring. Mantids are DEFINITELY smarter than salamanders, but yeah. I don't want to repeat that "kiling wth kindness" scenario again.

Well, one method you could use is to purposely attract small "sugar ants" (with sugar water) and sweep a bunch into their cage to feed them regularly. No threat of reducing hunting instinct, and fun to be had for all! (Except for the ants, it's generally understood.)

However, note that it's really not unusual for you to only see 2 or 3 "survivors" on your plants.  Mantids have NO problem with cannibalism and will "thin the herd" themselves.  

Best of luck!

Ah, thanks-
Have procured a small fruitfly culture for when they hatch, and frozen brine shrimp to fill in the gaps (have 5 egg cases). Now that we have a mesh enclosure, next year, I'll order the earliest crop I can find since our inclimate weather won't be a factor. I'm wondering how people get them to eat the shrimp if they require movement? I'm assuming they "swirl" if the water is disturbed?
All the wonderful stories on this thread have convinced me to try and keep a few over the winter. Every time I think I'm out out the cricket racket, they pull me back in :)
Thanks for your help-

OK, I realise this discussion is 4 years old, but I'm seeking an informed opinion.
For several Springs now, I've ordered & hatched Mantids of various species in hopes of having organic bug control in my garden. (Plus, I admire them as being simply fascinating)
EVERY year, within days of them being released, there is some weather catastrophe, (torrential rains, gail force winds, and last year a record breaking drought), and out of literally a 1000, maybe 2 survive. This year, I ordered as late as possible, and am entertaining the idea of "fattening them up" a bit before releasing them. But now that I know what to feed, I'm concerned that I'll condition them not to hunt. How long is too long, do you think, before they can no longer fend for themselves?
I'm relatively certain that I did this same disservice to a salamander that we released back into the wild this Spring. Mantids are DEFINITELY smarter than salamanders, but yeah. I don't want to repeat that "kiling wth kindness" scenario again.

Thanks so much for sharing! It was great to find the info I wanted for our babies-yet-to-come here! The mom looked like the same species as yours. They are lovely creatures!