Pet Your Praying Mantis cover

Pet Your Praying Mantis


Looking for an unusual pet? One that doesn’t bark, shed, need shots or a litter box, and will look you straight in the eye with obvious affection? Then you need a praying mantis!

Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars on 5 reviews

"Like it . But have a question. Is it true that praying mantis is a pest for rice growers here in the Philippines? I was trying to protect one and raise some for my fruit trees. But my bro. in Law who plants rice says its bad fir their plants . Is it true?" 5 stars by

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Pet Your Praying Mantis

In Need of Affection

Looking for an unusual pet?

One that doesn’t bark, shed, need shots or a litter box, and will look you straight in the eye with obvious affection? Then you need a praying mantis!

An insect for a pet? Why not? Can you honestly say pet rats, hedgehogs, toads, hermit crabs, ferrets, and encyclopedia salesmen are any weirder? No, you cannot.

Somebody to Love

Somebody to Love

About 2,400 species of mantises exist worldwide, ranging in size from tiny ones about an inch long to giants more than five inches long.

Ambush Predator

You instantly recognize them by their triangular heads with two bulbous eyes and their folded, spiny forelegs they hold in a “praying position,” hence, the name.

Their swiveled heads can turn 180 degrees to watch you, which is both cool and makes you glad you’re so much bigger than they are.

These ambush predators usually wait motionless on a leaf and branch that matches their color for an unsuspecting bug to walk by, then seize it with their forelegs and devour it head-first. (“Dibs on the brains!”)

The Deadly Mantis

Although mantises are often praised as beneficial insects for eating a raft of destructive insects such as flies, caterpillars, beetles, and roaches, in truth they’re garden-neutrals.

They’ll eat anything they can overpower, including bees, butterflies, small lizards, and (horrors!) even hummingbirds. And if a prehistoric one the size of a Boeing 747 gets loose, humans are on the menu too, as demonstrated by this famous documentary film produced by the Defense Department.

The Deadly Mantis Movie Trailer


Local Folk

Fortunately, this rarely happens.

Our most common mantis in the South is the native Carolina praying mantis (Stagnomantis carolina). It’s usually green, but can be brown.

Females grow 2 to 3 inches long and males a little smaller. Its egg case looks like a tiny loaf of bread. Each one of those chambers contains a baby mantis just waiting to meet you.

Chinese Praying Mantis

Chinese Praying Mantis

Another common one is a giant introduced from China, the Chinese praying mantis (Tenodera aridifolia). It grows up to five inches long and can be green, tan, brown, or a combo of these colors. So cute, so lovable!

A Mother's Love

A Mother's Love

The egg case of the Chinese mantis looks like a blob of hardened foam.

Oh, Sure, Just Bite Off My Head!

One myth about praying mantises Grumpy would like to dispel is that immediately after mating, the female bites off the male’s head and eats him.

While this does occur on occasion — like when she’s really hungry or he forgets her birthday — this is by no means the rule. Still, it pays to be careful.

Mantis Jokes

Mantis Jokes

This is what happens when the male fails to do due diligence on Ashley Madison.

Getting Started With Praying Mantises

Now that you desperately want a pet praying mantis, how do you get started?

Where does one go to find a tiny mantis leash or chew toy? Fortunately, websites abound that can help you purchase mantis egg cases, mantis cages, mantis food, and mantis treats. Try Mantis Pets or The Praying Mantis Shop. And don’t worry about mantises biting you — they won’t do that.

Well, except if they’re as big as a 747. Then all bets are off.