Caring for Your Praying Mantis

Giant Devil's Flower Mantis (Idolomatis diabolica)

  • Temperature range: 90 to 104°F (nighttime temperature of 68°F minimum)
  • Humidity range: 40 to 50% RH
  • Feed L1-L3 nymphs fruit flies; feed L4+ nymphs and adults blue bottle flies.
  • Mesh enclosure recommended because this species cannot climb on glass surfaces. This species of mantis can be housed together, but keep an adequate supply of food nearby or cannibalism may occur.

Orchid Mantis (Pseudocreobotra wahbergii)

  • Temperature range: 77 to 95°F (nighttime temperature of 65°F minimum)*
  • Humidity range: 60 to 80% RH
  • Feed L1-L3 nymphs fruit flies; feed L4+ nymphs and adults blue bottle flies.
  • Glass enclosure recommended to maintain adequate humidity levels. (Nymphs need a bit less humidity than adults.) Do not house this species of mantis together, as cannibalism may occur.

Spiny Flower Mantis (Idolomatis diabolica)

  • Temperature range: 77 to 86°F (nighttime temperature of 65°F minimum)*
  • Humidity range: 60% RH
  • Feed L1-L3 nymphs fruit flies; feed L4+ nymphs and adults blue bottle flies.
  • Glass enclosure recommended to maintain adequate humidity levels. Do not house this species of mantis together past L4, as cannibalism may occur.

Important Information about Enclosure Size:

To house your pet praying mantis, you need an enclosure filled with appropriate substrate and some surfaces or branches for climbing and hanging. Make sure the enclosure is at least 3 times longer than the body length of the mantis and 2 times wider than the body length. This will ensure that the mantis has plenty of space to walk around in and to use when it will shed its skin (molt). The cage should also have proper ventilation.Place substrate on the bottom of the tank, terrarium or cage. This substrate can be anything that will absorb water and that will not mold easily. For example: tissue paper, vermiculite, potting earth, shredded wood, pieces of bark or sand. The purpose of the substrate is to release water slowly, thus keeping the humidity in the tank a bit more constant.Fill the enclosure with branches or other objects where the mantis can sit on or hang from. You could use branches, twigs, reeds, stiff dry grass, fake plastic flowers or plastic decorative branches. Make sure the objects are safe for the mantis, e.g. without glue or insecticides, and that there is plenty of space left for the mantis to move around.

A Word about Molting:

Like all arthropods, mantises have an outer skeleton (called an exoskeleton). As they grow, they molt (shed) this exoskeleton to allow further growth until they reach their mature size. During the molting process, the mantis often does not eat and avoids exposure to predators as its new shell will initially be soft and vulnerable. This is the time to leave your mantis alone until its exoskeleton hardens, about a day or two. Make sure your mantis has enough room in its enclosure to hang upside down, as mantids often use gravity to help them molt.


Photo by Natalie Gagnon