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Mantis Care Sheet

Updated: Nov 2, 2019

Housing: Mantises need vertically oriented enclosures they can move around in, at least twice as tall as the mantis standing upright to accommodate successful molts, and at least three times as wide as the mantis’s leg length for hunting. It is easier if the cage helps maintain humidity, but there must be good ventilation and airflow. While they are ambush predators and don’t require more space, any mantis will be ok in a larger enclosure.

Lighting: No additional lighting necessary

Heating: Warm room temperature between 70 and 75, but not above 85.

Feeding: Every two or three days. Mantises require live prey that either flies or jumps. This includes, in size order, Turkish flier fruit flies, melanogaster fruit flies, Heidi fruit flies, curly wing or blue bottle flies, soft roaches that fly or run quickly such as green banana roaches or red runners, and crickets. Without live prey, the mantis will not eat and will starve to death; the movement is what attracts them.

Watering: In a solid sided enclosure: check substrate moisture when feeding; you may add water every feeding, but you also may not need to if your enclosure maintains humidity well. You want the sub to be damp but not sopping wet. If you tip the enclosure and water pools on the side, pour some out. In a mesh or screen enclosure: spray well daily. Watering also maintains humidity, which is essential to successful molts. You want to spray around or on the mantis directly to encourage drinking.

Substrate: We keep our mantises on a 70% coco fiber, 30% peat moss mixture because it helps maintain humidity. However, mantises are kept successfully on paper towels or no substrate at all with closer attention. They only tend to use the floor of their enclosures while hunting.

Molting: Mantis molt while hanging upside down. They are extremely delicate during the molting process and afterwards for about 24 hours. If your mantis is molting DO NOT TOUCH IT. Any way their body is distorted during the molting process will last until their next molt if it doesn’t kill them. If the mantis falls or sheds improperly, there is not usually anyway to help. If your mantis successfully molts except for a foot where the molt got stuck, you can remove it either by cutting the molt off near their foot, or pulling gently after it hardens. If the improper shed is worse than that, odds are interfering will cause more damage.

Lifespan: Most mantises live less than a year from birth. The longest lived mantis live about 18 months and live in the tropics. Most mantis species have wings as adults, which appear after their last molt, but usually only males can fly short distances. They are used for threat displays.

Sexing: Mantises with 7 segments are male, and with less than 7 are female. If the mantis has wings that are about a quarter inch longer than their abdomen, it is male. If the wings are even with the abdomen, it is female. Female mantises tend to be significantly larger than males when full grown.

Feeder Sources: – Fruit fly cultures. - Fruit fly cultures and kits, curly fly cultures. - Pretty much anything.

Most frog dealers have a few cultures of flying or jumping flies. All feeder dealers have crickets, and so do most pet stores.

Giant African Mantis Nymph (Sphodromantis lineola)

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