There are more than 2000 species of mantes found mostly in tropical habitats of the world. Among them, praying mantes are really adorable and many people like to keep them as pets. The praying mantis is a small predator insect with a body size of 2-3 inches and comes in a wide range of colors. Even though the praying mantis cannot be considered as a conventional pet but still, it is an excellent choice for any pet owner. Even if you never had any prior experience of pet care, then also you can keep a praying mantis at home.
Praying Mantis Care
A praying mantis can be purchased from a local pet store. There nymphs of praying mantes are available in small containers. After you bring home the new member of your family you have to give it suitable environment in order to keep it happy and healthy. Some important steps to take care of a praying mantis are as follows:
Select a Cage
You can keep the mantis in a small-sized tank. However, do not select the tank as per the size of the nymph. You must keep in mind the fact that the nymph will grow into an adult after some time and it will require a larger space. Ideally, the length, breath and height of the tank should be of 12 inches each. If you have more than one mantis, then you must keep them in separate cages. Otherwise, the adult insects may start killing each other.
Prepare the Habitat
Next, you have to furnish the new home of your pet with great care. First, add an inch of sand and soil mix at the bottom of the tank. This is done to retain moisture within the cage. You have to include some climbing items like twigs, branches and dowel poles in their habitat. They should be placed in such a manner that there is enough space for the insect to hang from them for molting. You can put some more items like live plants or artificial plants for further decoration of their cage. However, just take care that it does not get overcrowded with all these items and there is enough space for them to move around.
Maintain a Warm Temperature in the Cage
Praying mantes are highly sensitive towards temperature change. Therefore, it is your responsibility as a pet owner to keep them in warm temperature. They are comfortable in the temperature range of 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit. You can provide them with this temperature with the help of a heating pad or spot lamp.
Give Adequate Food and Water
Praying mantes are carnivores. You have to supply them with plenty of food. Offer them with a variety of foods to meet their nutritional requirements and keep them healthy. At nymph stage, food includes fruit flies, aphids, gnats and other such insects that are very small in size. As they grow older, you can give them soft bodied insects such as butterflies, houseflies, cricket, grasshoppers, etc. In natural environment, mantes drink water from the dew drops on plants. So, spray mist in the enclosure from time to time to give them water for drinking.
Keep the Cage Clean
You will find lots of food debris inside the cage of praying mantes as they do not eat all the body parts of the insects. You must clear up all these uneaten parts of their food everyday. If they are left behind in the cage for a long time, then the untidy environment of the cage puts a lot of stress on the insect and they may find it difficult to cope up with it.
Handle them with Great Care
Praying mantes are very delicate creature. So, try not to grab them or pick them up with your hands. In case, you hold them tightly, then they will be badly hurt. If you like to play with them, just stretch out your hand and let them move on it.
Looking after a praying mantis care is an enjoyable experience for any pet owner. When you rear them from an early age and see them grow to an adult, then it gives you immense satisfaction. The lifespan of a pet praying mantis varies from one species to another. When you give them right environment and proper care, then they can live for almost a year.