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Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis Pet Profile

Size ca. 5.5 inches (14 cm)
Lifespan 4-8 months
Active During the daytime
Food Fruit flies and houseflies, moths, crickets
How to keep them Terrarium
Number of animals One; keep separately

Praying Mantis Photo: Lutsenko_Oleksandr/Shutterstock

Praying Mantis Characteristics

The praying mantis gets its name because they often hold their hands together as if they’re praying. There is a variety of different species, colors and shapes. These animals are easy to keep in a terrarium. Please note: one kind of praying mantis is under strict protection, so keeping them as pets is not allowed. This is the European mantis.

Please note: praying mantises are not cuddly animals. They don’t like being picked up or carried. These animals are, however, great to watch.


How to Keep Them

Terrarium: at least 8 x 8 x 12 inches (20 x 20 x 30 cm) per animal (L x W x H)

In contrast to many pets, the praying mantis rarely likes to be kept in a group. First of all, the females eat the males after mating and, second, the different kinds are aggressive towards each other and even eat each other.

Praying Mantis Praying Mantis - Photo: Ava Peattie/Shutterstock

Author SarahRFrom here you find information provided by fan Sarah R!

Terrarium Design

You’ll need the following to successfully keep praying mantises: terrarium, thermometer, hygrometer, heating mat or heat lamp, water spray bottle, branches, green plants, floor covering andlive prey. You can design your terrarium however you like. But there are a couple of things to keep in mind.


Praying mantises regularly shed their skin as they grow, and they need enough space to do this. In the terrarium, they mostly like to hang from the ceiling, so you have to make sure that it’s made from insect screen and that the terrarium isn’t too full.

• Floor

You can either use wet kitchen paper, regular soil or terrarium soil to cover the floor.

• Thermometer and Hygrometer

The thermometer shows you the temperature in the terrarium. Many praying mantises need temperatures between 77 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit (25 and 35 degrees Celsius). To guarantee these temperatures, you can either use a heating mat or a heat lamp. You can get either of these from a pet store or online.

The hygrometer shows you the humidity in the terrarium. If it’s too dry, the praying mantis can’t shed its skin. If this is the case, carefully use a watering bottle to spray some water into the terrarium. You should avoid spraying the praying mantis directly, as some praying mantises could get hurt.

Spoiled for Choice

There are some kinds of praying mantis that are especially easy to keep as they don’t have any special needs. They deal with changes to the temperature and humidity well. Here is a little selection for you:

1. Hierodula membranacea
2. Phyllocrania paradoxa
3. Sphodromantis viridis
4. Sphodromantis lineola

There are plenty of websites online where you can find out what each type needs.

Praying Mantis Photo: Maciej Olszewski/Shutterstock


As praying mantises only eat living prey, you’ll need to release live crickets into the terrarium. These shouldn’t be too small or too big. The perfect size for a cricket is around 2/3 of the size of your praying mantis.

It’s also important that there aren’t too many crickets in the terrarium, otherwise they’ll start to attack your praying mantis. All prey should be removed from the terrarium if the praying mantis is going to shed its skin to make sure they don’t disturb the praying mantis at this vulnerable time.

Tip: if you feed the crickets some fruit and salad before feeding them to the praying mantis, they’ll be more nutritious and healthier for your praying mantis to eat.

Where Can You Buy a Praying Mantis?

There are pet shops that carry these animals. But you probably won’t find the kind you want. You can also buy a praying mantis from a private breeder. You can find these online or in local adverts.

There are also websites online where you can order a praying mantis to be mailed to you. They’re sent as a special delivery so the animal doesn’t get injured.

This info was submitted by fan Sarah R. Thanks for your amazing article! Do you want to write a fan fact sheet?

Praying Mantis Photo: LFRabanedo/Shutterstock


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