Found mantis - now what?

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jnh
Posts: 145
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 7:34 am
Location: US East Coast

Found mantis - now what?

Post by jnh »

Just came home to find a big praying mantis clinging to one of the windows. Might be a European or Carolina Mantis and will make a great subject to photograph. For now I put it in a large plastic container with a moist paper towel and some sticks and leaves. I would assume it'll die soon outside, so I was wondering, if I could or should keep it inside for the remainder of its existence? But feeder insects are a bit hard to come by at this time (except for the pet store - would crickets be an option?). Or would it be better to release it soon? In any case, I'll try to get some shots tomorrow. Supposedly, they are comfortable at room temperature, but at what temperature do they start to slow down considerably?

Ichthyophthirius
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Re: Found mantis - now what?

Post by Ichthyophthirius »

Hi,

I found them quite easy to keep. They will feed on almost any insect that doesn't have good defences, so crickets should work. I was feeding mine with foreceps as well so you can even try insects that were previously frozen. You could try attracting and catching some flies outside.

She might still produce an egg clutch, so provide some suitable substrate for her to lay eggs.

Regards, Ichty

jnh
Posts: 145
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 7:34 am
Location: US East Coast

Re: Found mantis - now what?

Post by jnh »

Thanks for the feedback. I made an enclosure with a small clear bucket, some bedding and a few sticks. Fed her two crickets already, which is quite the gruesome spectacle. Didn't get around to take any photos yet, but she seems content for now...After reading up a bit more, this seems to be a Chinese Mantis.

enricosavazzi
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Location: Borgholm, Sweden
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Re: Found mantis - now what?

Post by enricosavazzi »

Mantodea are often kept as pets. There is quite a bit of advice on the web, for example https://www.keepinginsects.com/praying-mantis/care/ and links therein.
(at the above link, I could not resist laughing at the misspelling "live in desserts")
--ES

MarkSturtevant
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Re: Found mantis - now what?

Post by MarkSturtevant »

So female, and that is important. Photographing is pretty easy, but when manipulating, be careful to not agitate so much that she takes a leap for freedom. Females can't fly well, and a big mantis can 'pop' on impact. If she is very heavy in the abdomen, then she is full of eggs. One day she will produce a big egg case. But this time of year is the end for them. She will die before too long.

They want to climb. So to photograph you can set up a big branch, let her onto the base, and she will climb up. Just sit back and let her settle down. If she sees you move, she will want to move over to you. If she sees something higher up, she will want to be on that. If she is given something to eat then she will sit still more.
Their eyes turn black at night, which is interesting.
You can also stage one outside on a plant for a more natural setting. Since females won't likely fly, there is little danger she will take off. I have never seen a female fly. But males: Very different. They fly and they can fly far when they really want to.
Mark Sturtevant
Dept. of Still Waters

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