need help crafting suitable living conditions for mantis

ilikescience2013

New member
Joined
Sep 18, 2013
need some advice from veterans in this. i by chance came across a mantis in my yard and caught it and put it in 12x12x12 transparent box. been giving it live ants and caterpillars from yard.

now should i put sand or soil for the ground? i tried moist organic soil and got some humid days recently and i made the mistake of leaving box in first floor too long. the result was i got some white mold on the soil so i dumped out the soil for fear of mantis getting sick. i left it in my basement now since its generally cooler.

and i'm confused about the molting thing from different sources. i think mine's already adult cuz i saw it flew around in the box. but i read somewhere it molt like every 2 weeks, is that right?

and i read that during molting, its vulnerable and you don't want to move the box with violent force cuz that can cause mismolt and kill it. so is it only vulnerable for molting before it reach mature form? or is it vulnerable every 2 week for molting?


i only got one reliable vet source and rest are like self-claimed naturalist and i know nothing about their credentials. kinda hard to get reliable info on mantis physiology. hope to get some help!
 

Alpha1

Pack Leader and Lover
Joined
Mar 28, 2012
Location
USA
This place is not dead, but perhaps many here feel the same as I do when it comes to the Praying Mantis...preferably they should not be caught and removed from their natural environment. If many of us don't have experience with keeping one in captivity, then why would we reply?
 

NatureMan

New member
Joined
Oct 18, 2012
I had a friend that loved bugs, and went through some PMs, all of them died. They'd be better off left in the fields. No advice here, except don't bring one into your house.
 

Plex

New member
Joined
Oct 3, 2012
Location
Michigan
I am sorry I did not respond sooner, I have been busy and was offline for a while, but I am experienced with mantids.
However if you want one for a pet, exotic pet shops, exotic pet expos, and breeders that you can get in touch with online are the best bet; I have successfully kept wild ones as pets when caught early on AND as adults, but I would not suggest it as the ones bred for pets are definitely in the long run better suited for captivity.

Organic soil is a good thing for substrate, but you can also use paper towel or napkins as that is cheaper; if you see mold that is odd as I have never had mold issues and at one point I had a few dozen mantids kept with soil in different containers. Mist them daily for water for most US species; but the amount of moisture needed varies from species to species. Desert species don't need much misting if any, for example, as they get their liquids from prey items. Species such as Chinese and Orchids, on the other hand, need daily misting at least.

They do not molt ever 2 weeks, if it has wings it is an adult and will not molt again. Most species will molt every few days to every month depending on how old; the first molt is usually within a week of hatching and the moltings after that slowly get longer and longer in between until adulthood. I had a ghost mantis that went nearly two months between subadult and adult; it's perfectly normal. Mismolting is very common though in some species, especially those that are large; the larger the mantis the more likely there is an accident due to their weight in the last couple molts.

It is vulnerable during molting and for at least a day afterward as the exoskeleton needs to reharden.

For feeding, NEVER feed a mantis ants unless it is a species suited for it; which a relatively small number are. Ants can seriously injure a mantis. They prefer foods such as katydids, crickets, moths, butterflies (non-toxic ones), cockroaches, waxworms, and flies. Some species will be more apt to take certain foods, and some can only have flying foods or else they'll somehow be sterile; exactly why is unknown but it's been noticed by breeders.

Like I said; if you want a mantis as a pet, ALWAYS get one from a trusted source if possible instead of taking it from the wild. There are plenty of breeders that can be found in the US, you just have to research it and get in touch with them. But when you do so, NEVER release a pet mantis as most sold for pets are species that are foreign.
 

Plex

New member
Joined
Oct 3, 2012
Location
Michigan
Also the general rule is that the container should be two times the length of the mantis and three times the height minimum due to how they molt; some species are an exception.

Most species are cannibalistic so they should not be kept together. Very few species are an exception, such as ghosts and violins and idolos; however those must be very well fed, or they might resort to cannibalism as well even though they typically will only take food such as flies and moths (they're some of the aforementioned ones that need flying prey or they run into health issues)
 


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