The praying mantis is a really fascinating insect to have as a pet, as a lot of kids have been lucky enough to discover. Not only is it intriguing to look at, it is also very easy to take care of. If you are thinking of keeping a praying mantis as a pet, you must ensure it is well taken care of at all times. Part of taking care of a praying mantis is understanding its diet and eating habits.
Praying mantises are carnivorous, which means they eat meat. Most of them are also exclusively predatory, which means that they actively hunt their prey. A praying mantis will capture insects using its front legs and feed on them. Even though insects form the primary diet of a praying mantis,its diet changes as the mantis grows bigger. Large species of mantis have been known to prey on small lizards, frogs, rodents, snakes and even fish. Basically, mantises will eat anything that is smaller than them in size, as this way they are able to capture the prey without struggle.
A praying mantis is very patient when it comes to hunting for prey. In fact, a mantis will wait for hours for prey to come along. It will carefully camouflage itself so that the prey cannot easily spot it and ambush the unsuspecting prey at the opportune moment.
Praying mantises make use of the spikes on their front legs to grasp their prey. Once the prey is captured, the mantis will bite its neck to paralyze it and then devour it. A mantis will start by eating from the insect’s neck, in order to ensure the insect’s struggle ends quickly.
Most predatory insects will liquefy their prey or drain away the body fluids of their prey. However, for a praying mantis the feeding process is different. When a praying mantis catches an insect, it slices and chews it with its mandibles. A mantis will eat the entire insect, leaving only fragments that may have been accidentally severed during the feeding process.
When thinking of how you’ll be feeding your praying mantis, ensure there is selected habitat for the feeding. A cage that has been made to look like a mantis’ natural habitat will be much appreciated by your pet mantis. Don’t forget to regularly release your mantis so it can enjoy the fresh air and fresh diet in your backyard. Of course, keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t run away!