Enclosure Idea: Popsicle Stick and Dowels--Wood


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Well-known member
May 30, 2020
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Hey all. I'm Tim; new to the forum.

I wanted to share my enclosures, for the beginner doing research as well as ideas for experienced mantid keepers.... I use exo-terras or similar (8x8x12 and 12x12x18) with fabric tulle (thanks MantisGirl13 !) hot glued to the top hanging slightly, but secure. (The mantis' tarsus grabs the nylon, not the metal, is the point of that; no injured tarsus'!!!)

So I basically just use popsicle-stick bridges put together out of wood glue (non-toxic), which is a very strong structure if done right. Also you can buy different sized popsicle-sticks and make them the exact size and angles you want. Dowels are good to throw in too. Very customizable, in other words, and all this can be obtained in say a Walmart or similar store with a crafts section. This stuff is cheaper than pet supplies and seems to work better.

The rest of the enclosre is some aspen wood wool (the stuff in fruit fly cultures) at the bottom of the enclosure. Lastly, coco-fiber for the substrate. (I use about half the water the package says to saturate it; It says 2.25 cups for the 110 gram bar, but I use 1 cup to 1-1/2 cups water at most.)  

Anyway, the pictures: (I hope this helps some people with ideas!)

For my lineola: (L5/L6 female)


Commune of ghosts:


Plastic 1 gal enclosure for single ghost:


Currently housing a Chinese Mantis nymph I found in the wild. (Used to house a Heterochaeta which died due to mismolt caused by falling):


One more pic of the lineola enclosure.


Also, please any feedback would be welcome...

One more thing-- for vacations and keeping up humidity: 1 oz deli cups, but instead of poking holes in the top, poke a large one and wick a cotton ball through. This creates a saturated cotton ball that mantids/mantises cannot drown in and stays moist for about a week, as well as providing drinking water (I have had a mantis drink off it with no problem. Like this:


Looks great, however the popsicle sticks are at an angle that if the mantis tried molting from them it could fall easily, plus popsicle sticks don't have great grip. I stick to regular sticks because the bark provides pretty good grip. 

- MantisGirl13 


Its Funny, I just looked in the cage like 5 mins before checking this post and saw this: (could be L7 but more likely L6, Female S. lineola)


Actually I've had a lot of luck with sticks at that angle. All my (two) mismolts were from hangling upside down and I've had none off the 45° angle....

EDIT: Also putting some tulle fabric over them helps with the grip.

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Oh right, that is definitely something to keep in mind; thanks a lot! At the very least I will swap them out every few weeks. I also use bamboo sticks in the enclosures. What do you think of those?--or better yet, what type of wood/sticks to you like specifically? 

Bamboo is useful too, but any stick works, for the most part, as long as the enclosures don't get too humid.

- MantisGirl13 

i tried using chopsticks in a similar fashion but they molded and the mantis's didn't really use them. That water cup idea seems pretty good think i'll try it when i go on vacation.

Yeah it kept the humidity nominal for 2-1/2 days. They definitely work better than a cup with holes poked in them, and no chemicals to worry about like those 'cricket bags.' (If anyone knows if you can use those for mantids let me know? If you don't know what I'm talking about, its some type of powder/chemical that absorbs a lot of water and slowly evaporates. Are they non-toxic for mantids? 

I've also used chopsticks and bamboo skewers, as well as sanding the popsicle sticks or wrapping nylon tulle fabric around them for extra grip. Other than having to change them for molding--which doesn't really matter as they're cheap--they seem to provide a good molting position and my mantids seem to like them. About a dozen or two molts, and I've yet to have one mismolt off of them.... I did, however, have one mismolt from falling off the top of the cage (hanging from the tulle and/or a horizontal bamboo stick) and one more due to too small an enclosure. Both were my Heterochaeta, and sadly neither survived :( .

Here is a closer picture of the tulled popsicle stick.



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