Praying mantis are most active during the day. They use their exceptional eyesight when hunting. Praying mantis therefore need light when being kept as pets, or they will be unable to hunt properly. A praying mantis that cannot hunt will eventually die of starvation.
However praying mantis are not overly fussy about the type of light they are provided, nor the intensity of the light. If you can see to read a book or magazine then your praying mantis should be perfectly capable of spotting and catching their prey.
Unlike some other exotic pets, therefore, there is no need to invest in expensive lighting setups for a pet praying mantis.
That said, some keepers opt to add artificial lighting to their praying mantis cage for aesthetic purposes. A properly-lit mantis vivarium can look visually-appealing and can help you enjoy the hobby of keeping praying mantis as pets.
Do Praying Mantis Need Sunlight?
Praying mantis need some form of visible light if they are to be happy and healthy. However this does not necessarily have to mean sunlight specifically.
Praying mantis may be kept in a dark room, or far from a window, so long as there is another light source available to them. However there is nothing magic in sunlight that is required for the health of your mantis.
Indeed, it could be argued that it might be best to keep your praying mantis away from natural sunlight – or at least direct sunlight.
Bright sunlight can lead to the overheating of glass or plastic tanks. The bright summer sun shining directly on your praying mantis cage is therefore asking for disaster. Therefore great care should be taken that your mantis is only ever exposed to indirect sunlight.
Do Praying Mantis Need UV Light?
Praying mantis do not need UV light to thrive in captivity. Unlike many lizards, for example, they don’t need UV light to absorb calcium from their diet.
The key when it comes to lighting for praying mantis is that there is some visible light. In this way your mantis can see to catch its prey.
However you don’t need to be too precious about the exact type of light that you’re providing to your mantis.
How Much Light Does a Praying Mantis Need?
The more light that a praying mantis has, the more it can feed. That said, it is important that your praying mantis is also exposed to regular periods of dark. This day/night cycle is important in helping to regulate hormones in your mantis.
If your praying mantis is kept in a dark room with no natural daylight coming through the window then you may want to consider providing 12-14 hours of artificial light per day. Be sure to turn the light off at night.
What Lights are Best for Praying Mantis?
If you decide to add lighting to your praying mantis cage then a number of different options are available to you.
Compact fluorescent bulbs can be useful as they’re cheap to buy and do a good job of replicating the sun’s rays. They produce only very gentle heat, which can prevent your mantis from overheating in the summer months, while also offering a little extra warmth in colder weather.
Another popular option is to make use of LED lights. These are even cheaper to run and produce next to no heat at all. LED strip lights are popular among exotic pet hobbyists as they can be attached to a shelf and used to light multiple praying mantis cages at once.
Do Praying Mantis Need Heat Lamps?
Praying mantis like to be warm. Whether your praying mantis needs a heat lamp will depend on the ambient temperature in your home.
A decent temperature for your praying mantis cage is between 71’f/22’c and 75’f/24’c for most species. It is a good idea to invest in a digital thermometer, which can be used to monitor the temperature within your praying mantis cage.
If you find the temperature is too cool then you might want to consider adding a heat lamp to increase the temperature. Heat lamps should always be used with a thermostat to prevent overheating.
Other options are available for heating your mantis cage, including heat mats, which don’t produce any visible light but can be cheap to buy and easy to install.