Praying Mantis Food

Up to 6 inches long and frequently seen in Asia, the intriguing Praying Mantis, also known as the Mantis Religiosa, is a big invertebrate. The planet, including North America, is home to numerous species (up to 2,000 different kinds).

While they may survive up to two years in captivity, praying mantises typically only live for one year or less in the wild.

Because of its very big front legs, which are kept together and bowed like a prayer, the Praying Mantis earned its common name. Being carnivores, they pursue and hunt insects using their front legs at breakneck speeds in order to grab and impale their prey.

How the Praying Mantis Hunts

The Praying Mantis conceals itself in its environment using camouflage before pounces on its unaware target. Because the Praying Mantis has a range of hues from brown to green, it may merge with the leaves and bark of plants.

Depending on its circumstances, a mantis’ color may alter a little after it molts (for example, a green mantis in an environment with a lot of brown-colored objects would have a more subdued brownish tint a few days after molting).

The Praying Mantis can hunt effectively thanks to its camouflage, which also serves to defend it from predators. Let’s examine the nutrition of the praying mantis in greater detail because its eating habits are part of what makes it so intriguing.

Are praying mantis predators?

Regardless of the moniker, these fascinating insects are ferocious predators. Two large complicated eyes and three little simple eyes are positioned between them so that the praying mantis may study its surroundings by spinning its head 180 degrees.

These nocturnal predators consume live insects such moths, mosquitoes, roaches, flies, and aphids as well as small rodents, frogs, snakes, and sometimes even birds. In addition to pursuing hapless animals, the praying mantis can also hunt invisibly. Only one predator has been found to hunt moths at night, and that is the praying mantis.

What Do Praying Mantises Like to Eat?

Carnivores, or those who consume mostly other animals, include praying mantises. They typically feed mostly on other arthropods. Praying mantises are opportunistic hunters, albeit they often consume smaller animals.

Attacks on larger prey, including those that are longer and heavier than they are, have been known to occur. Depending on its habitat and the available prey, praying mantises will have different diets. Furthermore, compared to lesser species, mantis that are larger would have access to more food.

Due to these variations, a complete list of every meal that mantises consume would be lengthy. Nevertheless, most mantises routinely hunt for a few types of common prey. The ten meals that praying mantises enjoy eating have been compiled as a result. These are the kind of meals that praying mantises often enjoy.

Praying Mantis Diet in the Wild

In the wild, the praying mantis often eats mosquitoes, beetles, spiders, dragonflies, bees, grasshoppers, moths, crickets, flies, and a wide range of other insects. The size of the mantis determines the size of the food it will pursue; bigger praying mantises have been known to consume lizards, frogs, small birds, rodents, and mice.

The female of the Praying Mantis is known for eating the male during or right after mating, which has become a notable aspect of the species. Thus, the mantis primarily consumes insects as part of its diet but will occasionally engage in cannibalism.

How long can praying mantis go without food?

A praying mantis adult may skip meals for two weeks. Depending on the mantis’s size, life stage, species, food kind, and physical condition (well-fed or skinny), you must feed your mantis every one to four days.

The lifetime of the praying mantis is often quite brief. The praying mantis lives for around a year on average, yet it is true that given the right circumstances, it may live in the wild for about a year. The adult praying mantis can go without food for up to two weeks, which means they are capable of going for extended periods of time.

Do praying mantis eat each and every type of insect there is?

To answer the question “what do praying mantis eat,” it should be noted that in their natural environment, praying mantises also consume a variety of other insects, such as aphids, which are a pest, as well as pollinators like butterflies, flies, and honeybees. They also prey on top predators like spiders.

A praying mantis will hunt, catch, kill, and eat every insect it can find after it reaches its biggest size. Praying mantises with strong hunting skills will also try to turn any small rodents, birds, lizards, and frogs into victims.

Indeed, when a praying mantis reaches a certain stage, whether it be an insect or not, it will hunt down and target anything delicious. Considering this urge, mantis are thought of be predators.

Praying Mantis Diet in Captivity

In order to make sure it gets the nourishment it needs as a pet, praying mantises need a diet similar to what they would consume in the wild. As there are many insects that can be found and gathered, feeding your mantid ought to be a cheap and simple task.

You might also provide your mantid with live insects. In order to do this, a location that has the right temperature and humidity must be provided, along with the right kind of food and drink.

Depending on the size and condition of your mantid, you only need to feed it every one to four days (is it skinny or well-fed). Every day, add 1 or 2 crickets, flies, or other insects to the mantid’s terrarium.

If you start with a juvenile mantid, you can feed it small insects like aphids or fruit flies. Generally speaking, you should give them as many insects to consume as possible, although they are capable of going for long periods of time without eating.

Cockroaches, grasshoppers, crickets, and flies are all suitable prey items for the larger Praying Mantis, so you may feed it more insects as it gets bigger.

Make sure the bug hasn’t been left alive and won’t chew your mantid’s wings or legs before giving it any insects that are at least as big as they are. After an hour, if your mantid hasn’t eaten the bug, remove it from the terrarium since an uneaten live prey might stress out your mantid.

To ensure that the bug hasn’t fled while being fed to your mantid, make sure it has truly captured the prey. Some people who keep mantids use tweezers to directly feed the prey to the mantid or wait after giving it a bug to be sure it has caught its meal.

Since mantids usually go without feeding for a few days before to molting, if yours isn’t eating, it could be about to molt. As the praying mantis are still fairly delicate at this point, it is better to avoid disturbing them. At this point, make careful to remove any insects that haven’t been eaten and are still alive.

In general, mantids will consume moisture by sucking water droplets off vegetation, but if you keep your mantid in a warm terrarium, giving it a tiny bowl of water will give extra humidity. Once every day, you should mist the terrarium with water.

With regard to the aforementioned mating behavior, you should also think about whether it is a good idea to keep a male and female mantid together.

Do praying mantis eat their mates?

If food is short, these carnivorous praying mantises have little alternative but to murder and consume members of their own species. After all, it’s a question of the strongest surviving. In actuality, a praying mantis’s child enters our planet and engages in cannibalism. The hungry kids almost always devour their own siblings during their first meal.

Typically, girls are taken first and then males are killed and devoured. The bigger adult female praying mantis will consume the male after mating, or perhaps even while it is happening. This conduct does not seem to discourage males from reproducing. They do occasionally become wary of the female’s size and strength as a result.

Male praying mantis should be cautious while approaching the female during mating since the hungry female praying mantis frequently acts aggressively. To mate and avoid being devoured alive, some male praying mantis attack as well.

Foods Avoid Feeding Praying Mantis

Mantids are apex predators, yet they are also constrained. What they feed is where the irony resides. Sometimes the food people consume might be their downfall. They are also frequently parasite victims.

The following list of dangerous prey items for praying mantises includes:

Mantids might be more susceptible than larger prey like frogs or even spiders, depending on their size.

Insects that are poisonous, such bees or spiders with deadly stings, may be able to subdue the mantis with their venom.

For instance, a bee may sting the mantis before it is eaten, killing it in the process.

Mantid eggs are known to be a food source for wasps such the Podagrion and Mantidophaga.

Both the adult and larval stages of the parasite Mantidophaga, which dwells within the mantis egg casings, are parasites. On the mantids, the mature parasites live in groups of around five.
The Mantidophaga (wasps) fly out to locate a new host once their eggs hatch. The adult mantid serves as the host in this instance. The mantis’s wings are then torn off by wasps because it has no intention of ever leaving the host.

The wasp may change hosts at any time, thus the host can be either a man or a woman.

As they wait for the mantis to deposit her eggs, these wasps only consume the blood of the creature.

On the egg cases of mantids, other species of wasp, such the Torymid wasp, flourish. Because mantid eggs mimic the gall wasp, which is also their prey, they attack them.

Mantids, especially those of the Tachinidae, are known to be the primary source of food for the fly species Masiphya. The mother fly lands in the abdomen where it builds a respiratory funnel after implanting her eggs in the mantid’s underside (passageway for air).

Prior to digging itself out and continuing its life cycle, it consumes the mantids’ blood for a while.

Like all other creatures, even these strong hunters are not without flaws. Keep the aforementioned in mind when feeding or taking care of mantids.

Tips To Feeding Praying Mantises

Praying mantises are excellent pets since they require little maintenance. Despite this, it’s still critical to provide them with the proper care and nutrition while in captivity. Otherwise, they risk contracting parasites or passing away too soon.

Before giving your pet mantids any food, please take the following things into account:

They don’t need to eat every single day, so give your mantids two live insects every other day. Mantids don’t consume dead prey.

In order to provide the critical nutrients required for egg production, adult females may need to eat more.

Give newly hatched mantids fruit flies or gnats to eat (small flying insects). Fruit flies are available online and in pet stores that sell feeds for reptiles.

As an alternative, you may use fruit to draw fruit flies.

For older insects, estimate the size of your mantids’ meal based on the size of their forearms.

Smaller prey like as roaches or crickets can be consumed by younger or smaller mantids. Consider giving them more enormous prey items as they become older or bigger.

As your mantids eat, keep a watch on them to make sure nothing gets away. Caterpillars and roaches want to stay hidden.

Using tweezers or another suitable tool, hold the food in place to encourage the mantids to start eating right away.

To maintain a clean environment for your mantids, remove any insects they miss eating and throw away any animal byproducts that are left in their habitat.

When taken into account, these easy actions will enable your pet mantids to thrive throughout their whole one-year existence.

What Do Baby Praying Mantises Eat?

Baby pet mantises, sometimes referred to as nymphs, typically consume smaller insects than adult mantises do. Nymphs are able to go on their own food hunts as soon as they are born. They swiftly go on their own since staying too long puts them in danger of being devoured by their own mother.

Almost everything, even other mantises, will be consumed by baby mantises. Aphids, leafhoppers, and fruit flies are some of the most typical insects that infant mantises eat. A young mantis will typically eat every three to four days. A mantis’s ability to consume greater food increases with age.


If you don’t mind touching live insects on a regular basis as part of pet management, the praying mantis is a pleasant bug to have as a pet. You can try to catch one in the wild or see if your neighborhood pet store has some on hand. The Praying Mantis is an affordable and simple pet that may be fairly gentle.