Do Praying Mantis Need Water?

Praying mantis need water to drink if they are to thrive. In nature they would typically drink droplets of dew and rain from the surfaces of leaves. 

When it comes to pet praying mantis you’ll need to provide water for your praying mantis to drink regularly. However, there are some important tips to bear in mind when giving water to your praying mantis. 

How Much Water Does a Praying Mantis Need?

mantis drinking photo

Praying mantis are small insects, and as a result they don’t need huge amounts of water. Their tough exoskeleton does a good job of minimizing water loss, so a praying mantis won’t dry up in a matter of hours if no water is available. 

That said, it is a good idea to provide your mantis with water every day or two. In this way it is able to drink regularly and remain in the best of health. 

Fortunately your praying mantis will require only a very minimal amount of water each time so this is easy to provide. 

How Long Can Mantis Go Without Water?

It is difficult to answer the question as to how long a praying mantis can go without water. The reason is that it will depend on a huge number of other factors. For example, a praying mantis that is kept at warmer temperatures will become dehydrated sooner than one in cooler conditions. 

Praying mantis may absorb water from their food, so the feeding frequency and the type of food they are consuming can also have an impact. 

Furthermore, the right moisture levels are crucial when your praying mantis moults. A mantis that isn’t given proper drinking water may survive for a surprisingly long time, but a dehydrated mantis that tries to moult can end up in trouble. Ultimately they may die.

It is therefore best not to consider how long your mantis can go without water. Instead adopt some simple rules of providing water for your praying mantis to drink every day or two. Under these circumstances your mantis should remain healthy and fully hydrated throughout it’s life.   

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Best Ways To Provide Water to Your Praying Mantis

There are a number of ways you can provide drinking water to your praying mantis. Each keeper has their preferred option, so there is no “right” or “wrong” answer. Indeed, there is no reason why you can’t offer water in a range of ways at the same time, to see which method seems to offer greatest appeal to your mantis. Here are some of the best ways to give water to your praying mantis…

Misting the Cage

Wild praying mantis will most commonly drink droplets of water off leaves. This comes in the form of raindrops or morning dew. Attempting to replicate this for your pet praying mantis is therefore probably one of the smartest ideas. 

A houseplant mister is probably the easiest and most reliable solution. It is wise to buy a brand new mister, so you can be certain that it hasn’t been exposed to any unpleasant household or garden chemicals.

This can then be filled up and left to reach room temperature. The tepid water can then be sprayed into your mantis tank. Aim to spray onto the sides and back of the cage, together with your tank decor. Try to avoid the mantis itself, however, so you don’t startle it. 

The water droplets will slowly evaporate over time, leaving the cage dry, before you provide another misting. 

Many keepers opt to provide a light misting every day or two so their mantis can drink from the droplets if it so chooses. 

Gut Loading Prey Items

Another way to provide moisture to your praying mantis is through gut-loading the feeder insects you give them. Clearly this doesn’t work if you’re feeding flies to your mantis. However if you have a larger mantis and you’re giving it crickets, locusts or roaches then these can be gut loaded.

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Simply provide a high-water diet to the feeder insects for 24 hours before they’re given to your mantis. Fruit is probably the most popular option here, with many people giving their feeder insects citrus fruit, apple and more. 

In this way when your praying mantis eats the insect it will also ingest all the juices within the digestive tract.

Water Bowl Provision

Very few praying mantis will drink from a water bowl, but all the same some keepers like to provide one as an insurance policy. 

Mantis don’t like to come down to the floor of their cage, so raising up the dish can be a good idea. One example is using a hot glue gut to attach a soda bottle lid to one of the perches or a piece of cork bark. 

This dish is then easily accessible to your mantis without it having to venture down to ground level. 

If you opt to offer a water bowl then be sure it is shallow enough that your mantis can’t drown in it. Also, position it in such a way that you can easily top it up with fresh water on a regular basis.

Richard Adams

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