How to Make a Home For a Praying Mantis

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The typical "praying" pose of the praying mantis
The typical "praying" pose of the praying mantis (Image: GiniMiniGi)

Are you looking for the perfect pet? Would the perfect pet for you be a pet that doesn’t require walking, cuddling, or playtime? If so, then a praying mantis may be the one you want. These fascinating insects can be great pets if you build the proper habitat for them. They require little care, provide plenty of entertainment and are relatively inexpensive to keep. Read on to find out how to set up a healthy praying mantis habitat.

Things You'll Need

  • Terrarium or aquarium
  • Screen lid
  • Substrate materials (soil, bark, or mulch)
  • Spray bottle
  • Water
  • Water dish
  • Logs and branches
  • Thermometer
  • Heat strips
  • Non-toxic plants
  • Crickets

Place the desired amount of substrate on the floor of the terrarium. You will only need enough substrate to cover the floor and provide an anchor for the branches and plants you wish to include in the habitat. Moisten the substrate slightly with the spray botter and water.

Arrange the decorations, such as branches and plants. You will need at least one branch that is three times the length of the praying mantis. This will allow the praying mantis to molt.

Place the water dish in the bottom of the tank and fill with clean, chlorine-free water. The praying mantis may not drink from the dish, but the water will evaporate and put needed moisture into the air. You may be able to observe the praying mantis drinking from the dish from time to time.

Place the thermometer in the terrarium. Check the temperature. The ideal temperature for a praying mantis habitat is 70 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Place heating strips underneath the cage if the temperature needs to be warmer.

Place the terrarium in a place where it will not be in direct sunlight. Mist the inside of the terrarium with the water bottle to add humidity.

Capture or purchase your insect and place it in its new home. Add a few crickets for it to eat and place the cover on the terrarium. Remove uneaten food when the praying mantis is finished feeding.

Clean your habitat weekly. To clean the habitat, remove the praying mantis and the decorations. Scrub the tank with a solution that is 3 percent bleach, 97 percent water. Rinse thoroughly. Before you add the praying mantis back into the habitat, smell the habitat to make sure that all of the traces of bleach are gone.

Tips & Warnings

  • An adult praying mantis should be fed two times a week.
  • Juvenile praying mantises need to eat daily.
  • With proper care, the praying mantis can live up to one year.
  • A praying mantis can eat any type of insect you can capture or buy.
  • If you have a female praying mantis, do not be surprised if she makes an egg case.
  • Change the water in the habitat daily to maintain a fresh water supply.
  • Never place more than one praying mantis in the same habitat. They can eat each other.
  • Insects like a praying mantis can spread disease. Always wash your hands when you are done handling your new pet.

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