To unpack your mantis:
To prepare the 32 oz. container. Place the coconut fiber in the bottom of container supplied unless you already have a habitat ready, then lightly mist the coconut fiber. This coconut fiber is very helpful to assist in retaining the moisture. Place the moss on top of the coconut fiber also lightly misting. Place the stick in there so they have something to crawl on. Place the foliage in the container. This will give your mantis something to hang on. Always be careful in placing any items in with your mantis, not to overcrowd.
You are now ready to add the mantis. Open the container your mantis was shipped in and carefully transfer it into its new home. You can use the stick to help.
Then add about 4/5 Hydei fruit flies, no more. If you feed your mantis too many flies, it will stress it out and could die. 4/5 Hydei flies and lightly mist every other day. You may need to mist every day if the it is drying out too fast.
Removing fruit flies out of container:
Hydei Fruit Flies move very fast. If you need to slow them down, you can place them in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes. (not freezer)
Tap the container on the counter, flies will fall to the bottom, then gently tap flies out of the container into an empty container just in case you tap too many flies out. Then tap flies into habitat.
Soon you will need to obtain more flies as this is their main food (Drosophila Hydei Fruit Flies) until they reach the L-5 stage.
We do have the Hydei flies available on our website:
Mantis need moisture and humidity which helps them when they molt. Without the moisture, the mantis will have what is called a dry shed. The dry shed happens when the exoskeleton cannot be removed properly and dries on their body either cutting off their air supply to disabling some of their limbs. To avoid this from happening, it is best to lightly mist the sides of the container (not the mantis) every 2nd day.
We also have available, our mantis habitats with or without lights.
This species eats very well. They are not picky. Crickets, meal worms and medium size roaches are the best food for them as they grow past L-9 to L-10 stage, 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.
You can either drop the food inside the tank and if the mantis is hungry, it will 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. And do not leave extra food in the habitat as it can attack the mantis.
VERY IMPORTANT – Molting Instructions. This is the way they grow, and it will happen often.
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 to every other day to ensure 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.
Normal feeding schedule is every other day 4/5 flies.