The Chinese Praying Mantis is fascinating! It is no wonder many people want to own such a unique creature! However, before you get one to patrol your own, you need to think about the care it will require.
Understanding the specific needs of this creature is essential. As an owner, you must create an ideal environment for them to thrive and have a long life span.
The more information you gather initially, the easier it will be to have it all correct. You don’t want to make mistakes because you didn’t have the right information. Understanding what they eat and how often to feed them is just the tip of the iceberg.
You also need to know about the best environment for them and how to handle them correctly. You want your Chinese Praying Mantis to live a long, stress free life with you!
As you gather information, it is essential to verify it is for this specific species. There are many different praying mantis species. While they are similar, the details about their care and the right environment for them will vary.
If you aren’t willing to do what they need to thrive, this isn’t the right pet for you. It can be a remarkable experience, but you have to be willing to do it responsibly too.
Knowing what to expect from them and what they need is important. In captivity, they can’t relocate or to search for food. They are depending on you to make sure they have all they need to survive.
Be a responsible owner and pay attention to what has to be done for them to do well. When you do so, it can be a rewarding experience you never forget!
The Chinese Praying Mantis is low maintenance and easy to care for. This makes it a great pet to consider versus many of the other species. They are easy to find and affordable.
They are docile so don’t have to worry about problems with one of them. Still, you should pay close attention to their habits. For example, if yours isn’t eating there may be something amiss with their environment that is causing them stress.
Don’t be alarmed though when they stop eating for a few days here and there. That is typical when they are getting ready to shed their skin due to the molting process.
They shouldn’t be disturbed or handled at all during that molting process. Doing so can result in harm or even death to your pet.
Features and Development
The typical Chinese Praying Mantis is going to be about 4 inches long when fully mature. It is one of the larger species and is considered to be the largest living in North America.
They feature brown and green coloration. It is easy to identify the females from the males due to the design of their bodies. The males feature 8 segments along the abdominal area while females only have 6 segments. Males also have significantly longer antennae than the females.
You will notice your Chinese Praying Mantis going through many physical changes during their lifespan. This is due to the molting process, and the changes are referred to as instars.
During the molting, they will shed their skin. You can simply remove it from their environment and discard it when that happens.
It is very important to feed your Chinese Praying Mantis enough food and the right food. They aren’t very picky, so you do have more options than with some of the other species.
The size of the food sources you give to them though shouldn’t be more than 1/3 of their body length. As they get longer, you can feed them with bigger food sources. Common sources of food include:
- Feeder insects
All food should be put given to the praying mantis alive for them to consume it. By nature, they are aggressive when it comes to eating.
They are carnivores and they will not eat anything that is already dead if you put it inside of their enclosure. It is fascinating to see them stalk their prey within their enclosure.
You can put the insects you feed them into the enclosure one at a time or all at once. Then you can stand back and patiently observe the praying mantis. They tend to be motionless until their prey is within reach. Then in an instant, they have attacked it!
They should be fed every other day. Make sure you keep good records of when you feed them so you don’t skip too many days or accidentally feed them daily. Give them between 3 and 5 insects each time you feed them.
They don’t need much water at all; most of it will come from the insects they consume. They also drink water when you mist it into their enclosure to generate enough humidity.
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The living conditions for your Chinese Praying Mantis can vary. It all depends on how much space you have and the set up you desire. It is essential to keep them in separate living areas if you have more than one.
This is because they can mate and create eggs for up to 200 babies. Those babies will arrive within 3 to 6 weeks after mating.
It isn’t practical to think you can have that many as pets! If you do get 2 that mate, you can release the young ones outside into a garden area. They will be able to thrive there and they will help to keep pests away that destroy plants and flowers you may attempt to grow.
Another reason to keep them apart is they are cannibals. Housing them together can result in them consuming each other.
Many owners start their Chinese praying mantis in a large Styrofoam cup. Make sure you put a lid on it that is vented with plenty of holes for air to get into the container.
Add in some leaves and a few twigs for the creature to use to feel comfortable in the surroundings. Angle the twigs so they can climb and perch on them within the cup.
A larger enclosure is going to be necessary though as it grows. An enclosure with a screen top is recommended. This will ensure there is enough ventilation for the amount of air they need.
To make sure they will have enough space for their full size, the enclosure should be twice the width of their body and 3 times the length of their body.
Make sure the enclosure is clean and offers them plenty of leaves and twigs. You can add branches of various sizes and different types of plants for them to enjoy.
When they are molting, they will hang upside down from the branches or twigs in that enclosure. If you don’t offer them, they are going to be in stress mode when it is time for their body to go through that process.
Temperature and Humidity
The temperature for your Chinese Praying Mantis to do well is between 70 and 75 Fahrenheit. Temperatures higher or lower than that can make it difficult for them to do well in that environment.
They may not go through the molting as they should and they may refuse to eat. It is a good idea to keep a thermometer in the room by their enclosure so you can keep a good eye on the temperature.
Don’t place the enclosure around heating or cooling vents. This can greatly alter the overall temperature they are exposed to.
The amount of humidity in their environment should be from 60% to 65%. If you live in a dry region, make sure you mist their enclosure once or twice a day with a spray bottle to create the level that is required.
If you live in an area with higher humidity, you may need to use a dehumidifier in the room where the praying mantis is located.
It can’t be stressed enough that the right temperature and the right amount of humidity are essential components when you have the Chinese Praying Mantis as a pet. They won’t be able to do well if those conditions aren’t constantly within those ranges.
It is important to monitor them regularly and to make adjustments as needed. Both the temperature and the humidity play a role in them being able to molt successfully.
To help ensure you can keep these ranges in check, get a combo digital thermometer with a hygrometer. Select one that has high ratings for the sensor. Once you program your target temperature and humidity level, it can help you keep an eye on everything successfully.
You will need to enter your minimum and maximum levels so it can identify the goal range. Such a tool ranges from $50 to $75 for one that is well designed and accurate.
Handling them Correctly
Don’t ever handle your Chinese Praying Mantis when they are going through the molting process. When you do handle them, make sure your hands are washed and dried before doing so.
You may want to put a small twig in your hand for them to grab onto as you hold them. This can help them to relax. This isn’t the type of pet though that you should handle too often.
That isn’t part of their natural instincts or their environment in the wild. If you handle them too much, it can create stress for them. It can also alter their temperature if your hands are too cold or too warm.
Holding them frequently can prevent them from molting or eating due to the stress it has created.
You should relax when you do handle them, and allow them to explore. As they move from your hand, they may decide to crawl up your arm and explore. You can also sit down with your legs extended.
They will move on your lap and onto your legs. It may tickle as they move along your bare skin.
They aren’t going to bite you so there is nothing to worry about. They can’t sting and they don’t have any type of venom. While they are quite aggressive in the wild when it comes to their prey, they don’t pose any problems for humans handling them. They don’t carry any type of disease that a human could be infected with.
Your pet may be skittish at first with the handling, simply because it is new to them. Keep the interactions short at first. As they get used to it though you can extend that length of time with them.
Some seem to enjoy the interaction and they are curious to explore more than others. It all depends on your specific pet.
Life Span of the Chinese Praying Mantis
The life span of a Chinese Praying Mantis in captivity is between 6 and 9 months. Temperatures that are too hot can make it harder for them to survive. High temperatures are a common reason for them to have a shorter than normal life span.
Taking proper care of them from the start will allow you to enjoy such a creature for as long as possible!
Should you decide you would like to have such a pet, you can buy them from many plant nurseries. They offer them as a great resource for protection in the garden without the use of harmful pesticides and other chemicals. The prices will vary depending on where you buy one, but they aren’t expensive.
Make sure you have the environment all set up for them so that you can immediately immerse them into it when you bring them home! They can adapt to this new environment easily as long as their conditions are correct. It can be an amazing experience to have one as a pet!
It does take time and energy to do so, but it is also worth it. The Chinese Praying Mantis is amazing, and being able to observe one and interact with it can be the ideal situation for you!
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All the best
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