Do Praying Mantis Eat Spiders?! Let us Find Out

do mantis eat spiders

Do praying mantis east spiders? Yes. Praying mantises are known to eat live arachnids such as spiders even though they have a small size.

However, they are known to never eat dead animals including arachnids. But what is the relationship between spiders and mantises?

Why Do Praying Mantises Hunt Spiders?

Well, these insects are carnivorous and that’s why they find it easy to devour other insects and small animals. But when it comes to spiders even though the bugs are great for their nutrition, praying mantises have to carefully hunt them.

To take spiders down, the mantis usually hunt from the rear end to avoid the harmful venom sacs of spiders. From there, the mantis will quickly immobilize the spider thanks to its raptorial forelegs and powerful mouthparts that are used to effectively rapture the exoskeleton.

Note: the spider’s venom sac is only toxic when it’s injected and not when it’s ingested. It’s worth noting that the mantis usually goes for the non-venomous spider and it should be smaller in size. This is because it’s highly likely that a larger spider would consume a praying mantis.

Are Spiders a Preferred Food Source or Praying Mantises Opt for Something Else?

spider mantis

These highly predacious insects like to feed on spiders. However, the risk associated with spiders is that they can easily turn the hunting mantis into a meal.

Generally, praying mantises love to prey on those animals that are useful for plants.

Some of them include bees, spiders, butterflies, and wasps. Other common food sources that the praying mantis prefers include:

  • Houseflies
  • Moths
  • Grasshoppers
  • Mosquitoes
  • Cockroaches
  • Aphids
  • Caterpillars
  • Crickets

Besides that, the insects can supplement their diet with other small birds, lizards, and frogs. Because praying mantises are biotrophic in nature, they can equally consume herbivorous arthropods and carnivorous arthropods. Occasionally, they may devour:

  • Ants: these are soft-bodied insects that make sumptuous meals for the mantis. Even though they are not the typical target since larger mantises love to eat crickets.
  • Ticks: a praying mantis would consume a tick in captivity even though it’s not its natural food.
  • Birds: large varieties of praying mantis can hunt and immobilize birds such as the hummingbird.

The hunting process of all these prey is almost the same. The mantis will sit and wait for its predators. Once the prey is within a striking range, the insects will snap their arm out and use their claws to immobile the prey.

The best thing about mantises is that they are sharp and precise hunters. Therefore, they don’t normally miss their prey, especially if they are small. With their raptorial forelegs, the prey can’t even move.

Note: Even though adult mantises can feed on anything, these are also selective animals and they love to choose what they feed on. This is because food has a direct impact on their overall lifespan. For instance, Chinese mantises usually live for much longer compared to other species. Well, it’s because they love to feed on pollen.

If you want to know more about what other things Mantis are likely to eat, then check our articles on:

What Do Praying Mantis Eat – The Definitive Answer!

Do Praying Mantises Eat Crickets? Lets find out!

Do Praying Mantises Eat Locusts – Let’s Find Out!

Do Praying Mantis Eat Worms? Let’s Find Out

Do Praying Mantis Eat Hummingbirds? Everyone Should Know This!

What do Praying Mantis’ Eat? A Complete Guide

Will the Praying Mantis Avoid Certain Types of Spiders?

do preying mantis eat hummingbirds

Yes, the size and species of spider matters. Large spiders can outweigh them and easily consume the praying mantis as well. On the other hand, the mantises are cautious to avoid venomous spiders such as:

  • Black widow spider: it’s one of the most poisonous species of spiders in the world. Almost 2,500 people visit the poison control centers in the US annually due to it.
  • Brown widow spider: it’s an invasive venomous spider species that is mainly found in the Gulf Coast.
  • Funnel-Web Spiders: they are brown and bulky spiders that are feared due to their highly venomous bites.

Are Spiders Nutritious for Praying Mantis?

Spiders are highly nutritious foods that are rich in protein, folic acid, and zinc. For a praying mantis, this is a wholesome meal with lots of nutritional benefits. Praying mantises love them due to the overall satisfaction that comes with consuming them while also promoting general wellness.

Are Mantises Hunting Spiders a Common Occurrence?

This is something common, especially if they are in the same environment. A praying mantis can easily prey on a spider, especially if it’s small. However, spiders are also dangerous to mantises, especially if the bugs are big. They might easily eat them.

Are Spiders Dangerous to Praying Mantis?

The thought of these insects having a triangular head that can turn 180 degrees on either side might make its attacker think twice. Praying mantis also has strong fighting skills and their ability to fly adds to their versatility. This makes it hard to imagine that it can become another bug’s prey, especially spiders.

Yes, a spider can easily devour a praying mantis, even though it will do it cautiously. A venomous spider can easily immobilize and kills this insect in no time. On the other hand, a praying mantis can also be captured in a web and eaten by spiders. The general thing is that they should be young and not bigger than the spider.

The relationship between the mantis and the spider bug is quite weird. Generally, size is a crucial factor in determining who eats who. They eat each other but victory solely lies on who is the bigger one.

Note: the issue of a spider eating a praying mantis specifically relates to orb-weaving spiders and predacious praying mantises. This is because experiments suggest that under the normal field conditions, there is no sufficient evidence that suggests a nonvenomous spider can successfully prey on a field.

Experimental studies show that the best way a spider can devour this insect is when it’s entangled in its web making it hard for it to move or fight back.

Can You Keep Spiders and Mantises in the Same Terrarium as Pets?

We can describe the relationship between spiders and mantises as mildly volatile. Their sizes are crucial in determining who the meal becomes for the other. Even in a field setting, one has to wary of the other in case they end up being devoured.

Keeping spiders and mantises in the same terrarium as pets isn’t advisable and so you should not consider doing it. Even in their natural habitats, they are usually preying on one another. So, an enclosure with a sealable glass such as a terrarium can only make things worse.

First, this isn’t an open field so there is no means of escaping. Secondly, the spider and the praying mantis will definitely try to outdo the other. Thirdly, spiders build webs and this means that your praying mantis will end up being held captive on the web while still inside in the terrarium.

If you are considering to have both of them as pets, then you have to consider hosting them in different terraria. Praying mantises are fun insects and you will enjoy taking care of them as pets. Spiders are also fascinating to observe and they generally take very little space in a small terrarium. However, both of them have their own disadvantages.

Disadvantages of having a spider as a pet

  • To some extent, nearly all spiders are poisonous and that’s why it’s dangerous to keep them in the same terrarium with other pets. Just make sure that what you bring home is less venomous to protect you and your loved ones.
  • Even in a well-enclosed environment, it’s still difficult to manage spiders since they are natural escapists.
  • Keeping them in the same place as praying mantis means that one of the pets won’t have a conducive environment for growth. It should be noted that sometimes spiders use tarantulas for protection and this can be quite annoying to praying mantises.
  • Even under the most ideal environment, spiders live for only a short period.
  • Generally, they don’t react well to other pets in the household and that’s why you should consider petting them alone.

Disadvantages of Praying Mantis as Pets

  • There is no human/pet bond. Generally, people keep pets to bond with. But it’s almost impossible to bond with a praying mantis. You can’t even snuggle with it up on the sofa once in a while.
  • It needs live feeder insects. This is why you should never keep it in a terrarium with a bug such as a spider. If the spider is small in size, the mantis will definitely feast on it since these insects love to feed on live insects. So, if you are going to pet one, be prepared to constantly supply them with fresh live feeder insects almost daily. This is definitely an issue for most people.
  • They have a shorter lifespan. If you can successfully keep one as a pet, you need to know that you can’t live with it for very long.

If you enjoyed reading this article then check out our Praying Mantis category on school of bugs, we have a bunch more articles worth reading. Including other insects and even birds that praying mantis eat!

The Bottom Line

So, do praying mantis eat spiders? Well, from the above overview it’s clear that these insects eat spiders. However, the relationship is quite tricky since both mantises and spiders view each other as prey.

When the spider is small, the praying mantis will have an easier time to attack it. Besides that, the vice-versa is also true but you can keep each as a pet separately.

If you want to learn more about various insects, then checkout our site categories, we have a bunch of articles there that are totally worth reading:






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Steve Foster

Mad about bugs and wanting to publish as many articles as I can to help educate people about these amazing beautiful creatures! For more info check out my about page

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