The Praying Mantis is a fascinating creature, familiar to people who live in the warmer parts of the world. Bring one of these compelling creatures into your home to watch it actively stalk its prey or cleverly camouflage itself, waiting for the opportune moment to strike.
Praying Mantis are Awesome Pets
The Orchid Mantis (Hymenopus coronatus) is particularly well suited for a pet because of its striking appearance. Shades of pink and its unique body structure make it look like the flower bloom it hides on while waiting to ambush insects visiting the flower. Mantids come in a wide variety of beautiful colors and shapes, although the most common garden varieties are green and brown.
The Mantis can reach up to 3 inches long and has intricate details that merit close inspection. The Praying Mantis' front legs are lined with spikes, barbs, spines, and hooks, all which help eviscerate, impale, and otherwise catch and shred careless insects. And after the prey is caught, the Mantis will start devouring it alive.
How To Care For a Praying Mantis
If you live in the warmer climate, you can often find Mantids in flower gardens, but you can find praying mantis for sale in pet stores. Baby Mantids are called nymphs and are smaller than an inch in size. Baby Mantis' look just like their adult parents and are fully formed, but their small size makes them delicate.
Keep your Mantis in a terrarium or vivarium of 12 x 18 x 12 inches is perfect. Keep the Mantids living quarters around 75 F. But make sure to give it twigs and branches to climb upon. Feed the baby Mantis fruit flies, aphids or any small bugs. The Praying Mantis diet is simple, as Mantids are not picky eaters. Any insect they can kill will become praying mantis food. As the Mantis gets bigger, crickets, butterflies, house flies, will keep it happy.
Don't be alarmed when the Mantis molts, as it will shed its skin many times as it grows to full size. Don't touch or disturb your Mantis while it is molting. You are fine to hold and handle your Mantis otherwise, but don't pick it up by pinching it. Rather, let the Mantis walk on to your hand.
The Praying Mantis life cycle is short, as they are an annual creatures. But if you have a few Praying Mantids (kept separate), they can self-perpetuate, mating and laying eggs. You can tell a female Praying Mantis because she will have six segments on the underside of her abdomen, whereas males have eight segments. And as you may be aware, mating is extremely dangerous for male Mantids. Don't put the Mantids in the same enclosure for mating until you are ready to likely lose the male. Often the female Mantis will eat the male before, during, or after mating.
The female Mantis will produce an egg case, which looks a bit like an almond, stuck to a branch. Inside the egg case, there can be up to 200 eggs. Baby Mantids will take 6 months to mature, and then live about six months as an adult.
From their striking shape, ferocious behavior, and deadly details, Mantids are fun to watch. They come in a wide range of colors and are easy to take care of. If you are looking for a beautiful pet that is exciting and exotic, get a Praying Mantis.
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