How to tame a praying mantis

Praying Mantis
Praying Mantis (Image: Mike McCaffrey, Creative Commons License)

Having a Praying Mantis as a pet is great, particularly for small boys. They are almost like tiny aliens, and are a great way to keep flies and pests. Having a Praying Mantis in a cage is one thing, but having one that you can hold as you watch him devour his meal is much more amazing. All you need to do is train the Mantis so that he is hand-tamed. Here is how to tame a Praying Mantis.

Things You'll Need

  • A Pet Praying Mantis
  • Praying Mantis Food

Begin by placing your open hand at the opening of your Praying Mantis’ cage so that the Praying Mantis can climb onto your palm. Never grab the mantis or pick it up. Simply allow it to climb into your hand on it’s own. The whole idea is that the Praying Mantis should think of your hand as a safe place.

If the Praying Mantis is reluctant to climb onto your hand, try to place an insect or a small piece of lunch meat onto your palm and leave it there for him to take. Do this every day, until your Praying Mantis is comfortable enough to climb onto your hand on it’s own, then begin at Step 3.

Once the Praying Mantis is comfortable enough to climb into your hand, you can begin to take him out of the cage slightly. Be sure to move slowly, as sudden movements will frighten your Praying Mantis and cause it to want to escape. If you think it may jump, use your free hand to sort of cup/shield the area so that the mantis will not jump.

While you are holding the Praying Mantis in your palm, use your free hand to dangle an insect or a piece of lunch meat so that the Praying Mantis can catch it. While he eats, you can attempt to gently stroke him. If he gets startled, stop and try again the next day. He must be tame enough to recognize your hand as a calm place to eat.

After you have finished feeding and petting your Praying Mantis, gently put him back in his cage. Be sure to repeat the process every day, or the Praying Mantis will quickly forget that your hand is a safe place to be.

Tips & Warnings

  • Patience is the key. You can not expect your Praying Mantis to be tame the first day. You have to work with him over time.
  • If your praying mantis gets startled and bites you, you must realize that it is only in defense, and that you must resist the urge to fling the mantis away. Dropping or throwing your Praying Mantis could cause serious injury to your pet.

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