Praying mantis are carnivorous insects that need a diet of live animals of a suitable size. Whilst praying mantis have been observed in the past catching and eating small birds, lizards and mammals almost their entire diet is typically made up of life insects so when it comes to praying mantis and how to feed them this is where you should be focusing your efforts.
Praying Mantis: How To Feed Them On Commercially Available Insects
The various livefood suppliers now breed a wide range of insects which can be bought cheaply and easily either online or from specialist exotic pet shops. Whilst any of these insects can be given as food to praying mantis there is one tip worth bearing in mind and that is quite simply that in the wild praying mantis like to sit up in trees and bushes waiting for pray rather than sitting on the ground.
This means that insects which stay on the ground are generally of less interest than those that will either climb or fly up to where your praying mantis is perching. They will still get eaten but extra effort will be required by your mantis to slowly climb down after them and if your praying mantis is kept in a tall cage it may be some time before he or she notices the insect prey you have introduced to the floor of the cage.
For small praying mantis then fruit flies (Drosophila) can be an ideal prey item while larger mantids can fare very well on larger flies and moths such as mature waxworms.
The easiest route I have found is to buy a tub of maggots and keep them in the fridge to slow down their development. Every few days take out a number and place them into a plastic container with some sawdust where after a few days they will turn into black or brown pupae.
These pupae can then be easily dropped into your mantis cage where they will hatch into adult flies after a few days not only giving your mantis some flying prey to target but also making dealing with the feeding process very easy for you.
How Much To Feed Praying Mantis
In my experience it is impossible to over feed a praying mantis and the more a mantis eats the faster it will grow. So in essence feel free to provide as much food as your mantis will eat.
The one exception to the rule is when your mantis is approaching a moult. Typically a praying mantis will stop feeding for a period of time before changing it’s skin and it can be a wise idea if you notice your mantis has gone off it’s food to remove any livefood from the cage. Doing so will mean that when your praying mantis moults – and is therefore at it’s most defenceless – there won’t be other insects around which may stress, annoy or injure your pet.