Giant Asian Mantis will not eat

RamGoats

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Dec 6, 2016
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Hi all. First time poster. Pretty desperate for answers.
I've had a young giant asian mantis for about four months now. As I've learned, she's an extremely picky eater. It has now been two week since she has last eaten. in that time she molted but still hasn't eaten. There has been two spotted roaches and a cricket in the enclosure the entire two weeks and she is showing 0 interest in eating them. Her abdomen is almost flat. She readily eats moths but it's winter and they're no longer around. I'm worried that she will starve to death with prey no more than four inches away. What do I do?
 

Nick H

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Feb 12, 2016
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How big are the cricket and roach compared to the mantis?
 

Nick H

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Feb 12, 2016
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Hmm.. That should be fine. Maybe try something a little smaller just in case? I'd try some flies. I don't know how big your mantis is, but you can buy house fly pupae on bugsincyberspace.com You can also buy fruit fly cultures. You can buy those on a few websites. If you live in a cold region I'd try to find a local place first though. I assume you're spraying the mantis down regularly?
 

basin79

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Rip off the crickets head so that some soft innards are showing. Gently push the cricket so the soft innards touches the mantis' mouth. Pull away and let her mouth work. Offer again. Keep doing this until she either grabs and holds the cricket or just eats it whilst you're holding it.

Also if you have some honey put a drop of that on a cocktail stick etc and give it that. It'll definitely eat the honey.
 

RamGoats

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Dec 6, 2016
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Hmm.. That should be fine. Maybe try something a little smaller just in case? I'd try some flies. I don't know how big your mantis is, but you can buy house fly pupae on bugsincyberspace.com You can also buy fruit fly cultures. You can buy those on a few websites. If you live in a cold region I'd try to find a local place first though. I assume you're spraying the mantis down regularly?
I've seen her eat bigger. It'seems as though she suddenly decided she didn't want them anymore. I'll look into the flies
Hmm.. That should be fine. Maybe try something a little smaller just in case? I'd try some flies. I don't know how big your mantis is, but you can buy house fly pupae on bugsincyberspace.com You can also buy fruit fly cultures. You can buy those on a few websites. If you live in a cold region I'd try to find a local place first though. I assume you're spraying the mantis down regularly?
Yes, I do. Exciting update, I'm currently watching her eat a cricket. I think she may actually be partially blind. I noticed that it'should not like she's ignoring her prey but it doesn't seem like she sees it at all. I put her on a table and poked a cricket towards her. she'd see it if I put my finger by it and point it out but after the cricket began to move she kept staring at the same spot. is it even possible for a mantis to go partially blind?
 

Jacob Ma

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Feb 2, 2016
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Mantises could go "blind" if there was some sort of damage to her compound eyes right after shedding, a prey managed to nip at its eye, the mantis keeps rubbing its eyes against the container corners, or she was simply born a bit disabled. Do you have any pictures of her, especially some of her head? Based off of what you said, she might have hurt herself right after shedding, causing some internal/external damage. Does she move around well and react appropriately to stimuli (a possible "predator" such as yourself)?
 

RamGoats

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Dec 6, 2016
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Thank you for the swift reply. I'm examining her further and she does react to "threat" stimuli and will move her head in reaction to me moving my finger. Which may debunk my theory.
She molted about 4 days ago and as a result is actually missing the tip of one of her back most legs. There was also an incident recently in which her cage was knocked to the floor and is also missing half an antenna.
 

Newt Scamander

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Nov 17, 2016
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I've raised Tenodera sinensis in the past and their usual life span is under 12 months. From what I remember the females will have a total of 7-8 molts. I've found that it helps to make sure that you mist their cages daily so that they can drink. I've seen mine drink from the sides of their cages where I would mist their cage. I usually find a few around Southern California in the late summer. I've never had one last past the end of November. Most of them would perish at the end of September. I have been lucky enough to find mantis ootheca's and hatch them out. They are also pretty easy to breed. If you can get your hands on a male you could get yourself an egg-sac. If she's not eating I believe she's either too cold, dehydrated, or at the end of her life cycle. If you count the bottom of its segments on the underside of the abdomen a female mantis will have 5 segments and a male will have 7. Best of luck.
 

Jacob Ma

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Ah, so that is what the root of the problem may be. Her antennae, or almost every insects' antennae for that matter, are some of the most crucial sensory organs for the insect itself, as they smell, touch, detect vibration, and have many other purposes. A damaged antenna does not mean a dead insect in captivity, but she lacks part of that organ that tells her what may be food and what may not be food.
She can also deal with a missing leg, as mantises are prone to dropping their legs in the face of danger, but the container incident may have done its damage as well. Did anything fall on top of her? What was her condition when you found her in her fallen container? Did the container break? About how long is the difference between the day the cage fell and her most recent molt?
 

darkness975

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I have found in my experiences of keeping and breeding various mantids, including Hierodula membranacea, Tenodera sinensis, Sphodromantis viridis, etc. is that on occasion some specimens go through a phase where it almost seems like they stop "working" properly for no discernible reason. Sometimes it has to do with the size of the prey. Even a prey item that should theoretically be small enough might be perceived as too large. I had that happen with one of my H. membranacea this past summer. Turned out that even though I was offering small crickets it did not eat until I offered even smaller prey (flightless fruit flies) which was readily devoured without hesitation.
In other instances, even if the prey size is fine, they go through this weird refusal to eat phase.

While they do use their antennae for sensory perception their major hunting tool is in fact their eyes. Their vision is proven to be extremely well developed and some schools of thought argue that they can see as well as humans (well, some of us that don't need glasses anyway ...)

Also, when feeding, make sure there are no weird artificial lights glaring in her face or a lack of light on the reverse end of the spectrum.

Ensure that the feeding area (bottom of the tank in the case of crickets) is free from obstruction. Often times crickets seem to know how to go underneath the bottom part of a plant or something we have in there for them and even though we can see everything from the outside of the enclosure it may be hidden from the view of the mantis.
 

RamGoats

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Dec 6, 2016
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Ah, so that is what the root of the problem may be. Her antennae, or almost every insects' antennae for that matter, are some of the most crucial sensory organs for the insect itself, as they smell, touch, detect vibration, and have many other purposes. A damaged antenna does not mean a dead insect in captivity, but she lacks part of that organ that tells her what may be food and what may not be food.
She can also deal with a missing leg, as mantises are prone to dropping their legs in the face of danger, but the container incident may have done its damage as well. Did anything fall on top of her? What was her condition when you found her in her fallen container? Did the container break? About how long is the difference between the day the cage fell and her most recent molt?

Sorry for the delay in response. The problem weirdly just sorted itself out. I tried the method of decapitation crickets and offering them (which she ate). Then, one day, I decided on a whim to toss a live one into her feeding enclosure (which is much much smaller than her living enclosure to ensure she can find her food), and she caught and ate it with no hesitation. So, problem solved I guess? Maybe it was a weird phase.

One more random question. Occasionally when I let her crawl on my hands she'll lean down and seemingly try to nibble on my skin. I don't let her for fear she's trying to bite me. It isn't a malicious attack because she doesn't latch on with her claws. It's almost a grooming motion. Anyone else ever experience this and allow their mantis to go through with it?
 

Jacob Ma

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Feb 2, 2016
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One more random question. Occasionally when I let her crawl on my hands she'll lean down and seemingly try to nibble on my skin. I don't let her for fear she's trying to bite me. It isn't a malicious attack because she doesn't latch on with her claws. It's almost a grooming motion. Anyone else ever experience this and allow their mantis to go through with it?
Perhaps she thinks your hand has some water on it, as sometimes my mantises do it to myself. She won't intentionally bite you unless you have some exposed flesh that she thinks is just another snack. I would discourage this behavior, but you can try to offer a bit of water on the tip of your finger or from a dropper and she may try to drink from it.
 
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