Praying Mantis Care - Chinese, European, Indian Flower Praying Mantis
This species of mantis will survive in fair conditions. It's best to keep it around 20-26 C (68-78.8 F). Room temperature will work best. Warmer temperature speeds up the metabolism of the mantis and will shorten its life span and in contrast, cooler temperature slows its metabolism and lengthens the life span, but both extremes could kill it. Humidity should be around 60-65%. This could be achieved by spraying or watering the substrate 3 times a week. The main purpose of humidity is to help the mantis molt too much humidity will cripple the mantis during molts, and too little will hinder it from emerging from the old skin just make sure it doesn't get too dry or too damp.
This species is quite large. The suggested height is usually 3x the mantis length and 2x for width. They require sticks and leaves for perching and to hang from for molting and catching insects. They are very active and may need some space to roam around or to pursue their prey so adjust caging according to their size.
This species eats very well. They are not picky. Crickets and mealworms are the best food for them, but you can feed them anything else that will fit in its claws. It's recommended that the size of the feeder insect does not exceed 1/3 the mantis length. Even though they are voracious and will attack anything, do not offer them poisonous insects or wasps or bees as these could seriously harm the mantis. To feed them, you can either drop the food inside the tank and if the mantis is hungry, it'll go after the prey or you can feed them by hand: use a pair of tweezers to hold the cricket and wave it in front of the mantis, if it's hungry, it will turn its head to stare directly at the insect and will snatch it from the tweezers or you may need to pierce the insect and put it to the mantis mouth and if it likes the taste, it'll grab on to it and begin to feed. Do not overfeed them, overfeeding will shorten their life span also. Feed them as much as it will eat in one day and do not feed it for another 2 days. As for watering, mantids get their water from their prey, but lightly mist the enclosure every couple of days, and occasionally, a mantis will drink off of droplets from a branch or a side of the tank. This also helps keep humidity levels safe.
Mantis Care Instructions
How can I tell if my Mantis is about to molt?
It is relatively easy to tell when your mantis is just about to molt/shed.
First, you will notice how your mantis will not pay attention to its food. It will ignore the moving prey and stay on top of the cage or on a large high branch upside down. Or if you try to hand feed your mantis, it may try to bat the prey away.
Second, you will notice how your mantis will stay in the same place on a high branch upside down or on the cage roof. Normally, you will see your mantis moving around.
Third, your mantis will begin to lose its coloration and turn pale. This is the old skin underneath loosing up so your mantis will shake and quiver to break the old skin to push through allowing it to be free with a new skin.
During the molt
This stage is the most CRUCIAL stage of praying mantis’s life because molting comes with consequences if it is not successful. Your mantis could get stuck in its shed while pushing through. The longer the mantis stays in its old skin, the harder the new skin will form resulting in a disabled mantis or even death.
Another difficulty is that during the shedding stage, the mantis must find something to hold onto when it comes out of its old skin. If your mantis were to fall, then the odds are commonly that your mantis will die within the next 24 to 48 hours. The result of surviving a fall are very slim.
After the molt, your mantis will not eat. Make sure no insects are inside his habitat. He will be too weak to attack anything that comes near him. Therefore, during the molting period, do add any food for your mantis and do not add any food for at least 24 hours. So, leave your mantis alone until the following day and do not try to handle it. Disturbing your mantis during this cycle could fatally harm your mantis.
What does molting accomplish?
Your mantis will increase in size and will continue to molt until it reaches the adult size which can take 4 to 6 months. By the adult size, it will have fully developed wings, although rarely does it fly.
How can you help your mantis have a successful shed?
Keep his environment moist and humid. This will increase the likelihood that your mantis can easily slip out of its old skin. Sometimes you may find that the mantis has completely shed its skin except a portion of its leg is still attached. What do you do? After making sure there is no progress you may need to cut its leg free allowing it to escape its old skin. If your mantis can get around to catch its food, the mantis can rejuvenate a new leg in future molts.
- Spray the mantis environment once a day to ensure his/her environment is moist/ humid.
- Make sure you do not feed your mantis if you see signs that it is getting ready to molt or has already started.
- Do not move his/her habitat around or shake while your mantis is molting.
This species is very easy to breed. Pair up a male and a female 2 weeks after their last molt and if they are ready, the male will try to climb on the female to initiate breeding. Be sure that both sexes are well fed prior to mating. And before mating, it is advised to give the female a food item to busy herself with while the male tries to mate with her. Afterwards, he will run away, leaving the female to make the eggs. Feed her as much as she will eat during this time and she will lay about 6-12 oothecae (plural for ootheca).