Other common names: European Mantid; Praying Mantis
Scientific name: Mantis religiosa
The European Mantis is a common Mantis which is native to southern Europe. In 1899, the European Mantis was introduced to North America on a shipment of nursery plants. Now they are found all over the United States and Canada, from the north-eastern states and provinces to the Pacific Northwest.
Appearance / health:
The European Mantis is usually 5–7.5 cm (2–3 inches) in length, and has shades of bright green to tan. It can be distinguished easily by a black-ringed spot beneath the fore coxae.
Behavior / temperament:
European Mantis are usually docile and easy going. They may get aggressive while feeding. Handling is not recommended as they can fall and get injured. These are very active mantids and make wonderful additions to anyone’s collection; beginner or expert.
A fully screened enclosure works best for all mantids as they are fully ventilated. Baby mantids may live in a temporary jar with many air holes punched in the lid and sides. They may be housed together, but enclosure space will need to grow according to how many are being housed. However, it’s best to house separately as cannibalism is very common.
Temperatures should stay around 75-85F with humidity levels of 60-70%. Humidity is important especially around molting time. Substrate is best as potting soil or a mix of peat and potting soil; 1-2 inches deep. Tank décor is highly important and should be items such as vines, twigs, branches, and many other climb-able items. They also need a place for molting and this can be a branch laid horizontally at the top of the tank. They will hang upside down to molt, so make sure there is room underneath the branch. Misting the tank during molt time is beneficial. If not molting, mist the tank 1-2 times a week to keep the range between 60-70%.
Adults should be offered variety especially before breeding time. Offer crickets, flies, moths, and other insects. Babies should be offered fruit flies, pin head crickets, and other small insects. If more than one are being housed together, always make sure food is abundant to prevent cannibalism.
Once the male and female have had their last molt, they are ready to breed. About 2 weeks from the last molt, introduce the male into the females enclosure. If she is receptive, she will allow the male to jump on her back and get positioned for breeding. If she allows this, copulation will begin and can last anywhere from a few minutes to a day. Once mating is finished, make sure to remove the male as female African Mantids are very aggressive and will not hesitate to hunt them down for food. Whether she was fertile or not, 3-4 weeks later she will lay her egg case. Keep this at the same temps and humidity as the adults and in about 4-6 weeks later, nymphs will hatch out. Care for these just as the adults.
Play with for a day or two, then let go
The praying mantis is fun to play with, fun to feed, but does not need to be kept in a cage for long periods. I have had many of these as pets over the years, but would only keep for a few days at a time. While I was very successful at keeping them as pets, the praying mantis truly belongs outside, in the garden.
A simple cage with a top works fine. I would always throw in a small branch with some leaves for them to walk around on. They will eat practically any insect, from crickets and grasshoppers to aphids and ladybugs. It is fun to watch the mantis kill and eat his prey. I also enjoyed letting them walk up and down my arm, because their little feet tickle.
The praying mantis is fun to keep for a day or two, especially for children. But ultimately, they need to be let go outdoors where they can be a great help to any garden..
From chrhen2007 Dec 2 2013 1:46PM
My personal experience with this mantis was not the best but did still have some good. When I first got it i loved it, it was this tiny bright green little pray mantis that was super friendly and you could take out and let crawl on your finger. But as it got older It became this big poky brown mantis that would get stuck on you clothes and fly around to be honest it was very frighting but it was still a cool pet to have just more something to look at then actually handle.
From gemmi2 Dec 11 2014 9:15PM