What are some interesting observations/behaviors you've come to learn about your pet mantids?


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Sep 27, 2017
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Thought I'd share some mildly interesting things I've learned about mantids after caring for one for about a year now. I would also like to hear anything interesting you guys have to share as well!

  • My mantis "quivers" whenever I come home and surprise her
Whenever my mantis is home alone with no movement around her for hours, it surprises her when I suddenly walk into my room and take a look into her cage. Her whole body shivers for a few seconds, then she repositions herself to get a better view of the direction I came from. This is the only time I ever observe her shivering like that, and it consistently happens almost every day when I come home from work.

  • She never attacks prey unless she sees movement
This one sounds kind of obvious at first, but watching it first-hand made me realize how crucial movement is for a mantis to catch its prey. I watched my mantis slowly approach a cricket that had been sitting on a branch for about an hour. What I found interesting is that my mantis would never move towards the cricket unless the cricket was actually twitching its antennae or grooming its legs. It was like watching a game of 'red light green light.' The mantis could only move when it was observing movement. Even when she got into striking range of the cricket (literally one inch away from its face) she didn't attack the cricket for a solid 5 minutes until it finally moved a little bit.

  • My mantis acts much more threatened when she is cold
I was surprised to find my mantis freaking out when I tried picking her up one day to show her to a friend. She is an African mantis and therefore likes to be very warm. Unfortunately this one day I had left her heater off overnight, and she was very cold in the morning. (I'm glad that African mantids are so hardy because I could have killed her with this mistake. They are definitely a great beginner species.) She is usually very docile and used to being handled by humans, but that morning when I tried to pick her up she flipped out! She went as far as to jump off the branch she was hanging on and fell onto the floor, too cold to move and lying limp on the ground. I usually take great care of her every need, but this one mistake made me realize how fragile they can be when the species relies on a heater to survive the cold winters of my state. I'm now much more diligent about regulating her temperature ranges now.

Those are a few of my stories, and I am interested to see what you more experienced mantis enthusiasts have to share as well!

Like any other animal, they have the propensity to display individual personalities. Between the two S. lineola I have currently, the bigger male is far more apt to climb around on me and hang out, while if I even poke the other one he freaks out and runs away.

My first mantis who is an adult now, a Hierodula majuscula named Elizabeth Bathory, almost seems like she is used to me and trusts me in a weird kind of way. I had a Rhombodera who I got as a subadult, she was more skittish and it got way worse when she had a bad molting experience which ended with me having to save her and touch her before she had dried up. When I was getting her out for feeding I used a paintbrush to coax her out because she would snap at my hand. Meanwhile, old Lizzy doesn't give a rats , I can boop her on the wings and she couldn't care less so when I'm getting her out it takes quite a while to get her to move lol. 

I haven’t seen any Mantids in a while, now, but the most unusual behavior I’ve observed is one mantis really liked my face. Not my head, just my face. I would be holding her one second, and then she would disappear. It would take a few seconds for me to realize what that tingling feeling on my face was, but I got used to it. I eventually had to release her in my garden because I didn’t have any room for her. I think I found her shed exoskeleton, but I can’t be sure it was her, exactly. I like to think it was, though.

They can tell the difference between types of insects. I had a male orchid who would attack any moth no matter the size. Even if they were over 2X larger than them but as soon as I found a tiny wasp which would surely be no challenge to him, he senses what it is and doesn’t even dare grab it. I tried putting it in front of him but he then started to run from it.


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