Do Praying Mantis Spit?

Praying mantis do not spit. So long as you remain out of arm’s reach then praying mantis are perfectly safe and will do you no harm. You can approach the mantis without fear, and look quite closely, without being at any risk.

Can a Praying Mantis Spit Poison?

mantis photo

There are many myths that surround praying mantis. One of these is that praying mantis are poisonous. This is not the case. 

While praying mantis can look quite scary and alien-like to many people, they are not dangerous to people or most of our pets. For example, most dogs and cats are perfectly safe around praying mantis. If anything, the praying mantis is at more risk from us, than we are from them. 

So not only are praying mantis not poisonous, but they also do not spit at all. Therefore, the answer to this question is that praying mantis cannot spit poison at you, no matter what you might have been told. 

Do Praying Mantis Spray?

If praying mantis don’t spit then another obvious question is whether they can spray. Some insects, such as ants, are capable of spraying acid or other unpleasant substances from their rear end. Praying mantis do not spray at all. 

No fluid or liquid is produced by praying mantis as a defence mechanism, so you are perfectly safe to get close to a mantis. The only minor danger comes from those spiky front legs, which are capable of drawing blood should a praying mantis manage to get hold of your finger.

Keep even just a short distance from a praying mantis, however, and it should be perfectly safe to observe. 

Do Praying Mantis Bite?

Praying mantis can bite if they feel threatened. However, praying mantis are not aggressive towards humans, and will only try to bite if they feel they are being attacked.

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If you coax a praying mantis onto your hand then you are very unlikely to be bitten. Praying mantis are more likely to sit there motionless, or to try and find a way to escape. In adult praying mantis they may try to fly away. Juveniles, which don’t have functional wings, may instead try to jump from your hand. As a result, great care should be taken when holding a praying mantis. You don’t want the fragile insect to jump from your hand and suffer a nasty fall.

Only if you grab at a praying mantis and it feels threatened may it try to bite. Even then, it is more likely that the praying mantis will try to grab you with their spiny front legs rather than attempting to bite your skin. 

Can a Praying Mantis Hurt You?

In broad terms a praying mantis cannot hurt you. 

A startled praying mantis may put on an impressive threat display to try and scare off predators. They may hold their arms up in the air. They may flap open their wings, which are often brightly-colored. They may stand up tall to try and make themselves look bigger. However this is mainly all bluster. You are at little or no risk from the mantis.

The only real way that a praying mantis can hurt you is by catching your finger (or nose!) in it’s sharp, spiky front legs. These spines are very sharp indeed, and a large praying mantis is capable of drawing blood. Smaller praying mantis cannot break the skin so even this is not dangerous.

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The sensation of being grabbed by a praying mantid’s front legs feels rather like a number of tiny pin-pricks going into your finger. The spines of the praying mantis are not poisonous so even this isn’t deadly.

You’d be advised to wash the wound properly afterward to avoid the risk of any infection, but otherwise no long term medical attention will be required. 

Do Praying Mantis Attack Humans?

Praying mantis do not attack humans. They are far more scared of people than we are of them. Given the choice, a praying mantis will always choose to flee rather than to fight. As a result they most certainly do not attack humans unless they feel threatened. Even then, any supposed “attack” should be thought of as self-defense rather than a full-on sign of aggression.

Richard Adams

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