Looking at Mantid. Wondering what kind of care they need.

Socfroggy

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I've just started keeping inverts (I currently have a regal jumping spider) and I'm getting curious about what it would be like to house a Mantis. Would you recommend them to a beginner? What enclosures work best for them? What do they eat? Do they live long? What conditions do they require? Do they bite?
 

arizonablue

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I just recently got interested in mantids. I started with one ghost mantis (Phyllocrania paradoxa) to make sure I could take care of it properly, and once it had a successful molt, I got two more. All three are doing well and I'm looking into getting more mantids because I like them so much. Ghosts were a great start for me as a beginner - they're easy to take care of. I've been keeping mine in tall deli cups (got the mantis beginner kit from BIC). I fed them fruit flies when they were tiny and have since upgraded them to small crickets. They will also take waxworms, although mine needed some coaxing and definitely prefer the crickets. I mist the cocofiber at the bottom of their cups every so often and that's been keeping mine perfectly content. I don't know about the temperament of other mantids, but the ghosts are very inquisitive and friendly. They will sometimes "strike" at my fingers if I move too quickly (basically just batting at my fingers with their forelegs), but they climb around on my hands and have never tried to nibble.
 

Socfroggy

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Will you be able to use the deli cup for the rest of their lives? How long did it take you to get them to eat crickets? I ask because fruit flies aren't as readily available as they were a few years ago.
 

arizonablue

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Will you be able to use the deli cup for the rest of their lives? How long did it take you to get them to eat crickets? I ask because fruit flies aren't as readily available as they were a few years ago.
I plan on putting mine in a larger enclosure when they're almost adults - I think a deli cup is too small for almost anything once it's an adult. Mantisplace.com has some great enclosure options, and any sort of similar plastic container to the sort they have available would work. I fed mine the fruit flies for about two weeks, but they probably could have done just fine with pinhead crickets. BIC offers fruit fly cultures with the mantis kit, as well as separately, if you have trouble getting them.
 

Andrea82

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Taking care of a mantis isn't hard, if you start out with the right species.

Enclosure should be 3 times the length of the mantis high, and 2 times the length of the mantis wide and deep, because it needs that space to succesfully molt.
Add lots of sticks or mesh for it to sit/hang/molt from.
Spray once a day/three times a week for humidity and drinking
water depending on the species.

A diet of only crickets is not very healthy, it can cause impaction and
lead to illness and death. Every now and then a cricket is fine, but not only crickets.Flies, maggots, mealworms/superworms,waxworms, S.lateralis/B.dubia are all good feeders.

Mantids aren't aggressive, but they can be startled or annoyed by sudden movement and handling. Always move slow and don't feed with your hands. Bites are rare, but the raptors have sharp spikes and can be painful if a large mantis latches on to your finger.

You can keep them on substrate or kitchen paper. Always provide adequate ventilation.

Phyllocrania paradoxa ('ghost mantis') can be a good beginner species, but they have a strong preference for flying food and can be easily intimidated by larger prey. Gets about 7/8 cm long.

Hierodula membranacea/majuscula are great beginner species as well. They get to 12cm adult size, eat everything that moves, and aren't shy at all.

Creobroter gemmatus is another nice beginner species, gets about
7cm big, have awesome colours and spines, and are good eaters.

Sphodromantis sp. and Tenodera sinensis are good starters as well.
 
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Toxoderidae

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Another good beginner species, but a tad on the expensive side is Pseudocreoborta wahlbergii. They're like the Creobroter genus in care, but are a bit more expensive.
 

Socfroggy

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Would a KK be enough to house an adult Hierodula membranacea/majuscula?
 

Socfroggy

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I plan on putting mine in a larger enclosure when they're almost adults - I think a deli cup is too small for almost anything once it's an adult. Mantisplace.com has some great enclosure options, and any sort of similar plastic container to the sort they have available would work. I fed mine the fruit flies for about two weeks, but they probably could have done just fine with pinhead crickets. BIC offers fruit fly cultures with the mantis kit, as well as separately, if you have trouble getting them.

How often do you mist them? Does the kit come with instructions on how to maintain the fruit fly cultures?
 

arizonablue

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How often do you mist them? Does the kit come with instructions on how to maintain the fruit fly cultures?
I live in Arizona, so I mist mine about every other day because my enclosures tend to dry out quickly. A more humid climate would require less attention. You really don't have to do much with the fly culture - a drop of water in there every now and again is all you need. The small culture that comes with the kit won't last a terribly long time but it was plenty for my mantises for a few weeks.
 

Nick H

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I just started keeping mantids in the last four months or so and I'm hooked! If you're interested enough to be considering getting some, then you definitely should. They're beautiful, fascinating, and (in my limited experience so far) easy to care for. Just don't start off with a difficult species, follow the good advice above, and you'll be fine. Don't think I saw Sphodromantis lineola recommended on this thread, so I'm throwing it out there. I love mine. Pretty big, very aggressive toward prey, and very friendly toward me.

Also, one thing I did have difficulty with was actually finding 32oz deli cups. For some reason none of the normal grocery stores in my area had them for sale. I had to go to a restaurant supply store (Gordon's food service).
 

Andrea82

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Would a KK be enough to house an adult Hierodula membranacea/majuscula?
You would have to put it on its end. And it depends which size KK you are looking at.
For a Hierodula species Fruitflies only are needed at L1/2. After that they can easily catch bluebottle flies and bigger.
 

Socfroggy

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I live in Arizona, so I mist mine about every other day because my enclosures tend to dry out quickly. A more humid climate would require less attention. You really don't have to do much with the fly culture - a drop of water in there every now and again is all you need. The small culture that comes with the kit won't last a terribly long time but it was plenty for my mantises for a few weeks.
How long would it take for a molt to occur?
 

Socfroggy

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You would have to put it on its end. And it depends which size KK you are looking at.
For a Hierodula species Fruitflies only are needed at L1/2. After that they can easily catch bluebottle flies and bigger.
I would probably do a medium sized one. Now while we will get flies here, I'm not sure how many I'll be able to catch. Feeders other than crickets and worms are hard to come by where I live.
 

Andrea82

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I would probably do a medium sized one. Now while we will get flies here, I'm not sure how many I'll be able to catch. Feeders other than crickets and worms are hard to come by where I live.
If by worms you mean mealworms, that's okay too, better even than crickets :)
For an adult Hierodula species you need an enclosure of at least 30cm high and 20cm wide/deep. More is always better.
 

arizonablue

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How long would it take for a molt to occur?
For the ghosts, their molts have been pretty close together so far. I haven't been keeping track, really. The last interval for my smallest mantis was about two or three weeks. Each successive molt takes longer than the one before.
 

Socfroggy

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For the ghosts, their molts have been pretty close together so far. I haven't been keeping track, really. The last interval for my smallest mantis was about two or three weeks. Each successive molt takes longer than the one before.
Would I be able to to feed the Ghosts small mealworms at some point? With any mantid species, how often would I have to clean the enclosure? What would it consist of?
 

Socfroggy

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If by worms you mean mealworms, that's okay too, better even than crickets :)
For an adult Hierodula species you need an enclosure of at least 30cm high and 20cm wide/deep. More is always better.
I forgot to ask. What do you mean by L1 and L2?
 

arizonablue

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Would I be able to to feed the Ghosts small mealworms at some point? With any mantid species, how often would I have to clean the enclosure? What would it consist of?
You might have to offer the mealworms yourself because mine haven't gone for anything on the floor of their enclosures. They hang up top and wait for a cricket to climb up the stick or the mesh I have glued to the side of the cup, and then they snag it. Mine took waxworms but it took some handheld coaxing. As for cleaning, I've never really cleaned my enclosures. Droppings are nearly invisible, at least as nymphs, and they just disappear into the cocofiber at the bottom. If they get anything on the side of the enclosure you could just clean up with a moist qtip or something.
 

Andrea82

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I forgot to ask. What do you mean by L1 and L2?
It is short for 'larvae' and indicates how many times it has molted, and by that, in what phase of its life it is in and how big it (approximately) is. Other terms used are 'instar' or 'FH'.
 

Socfroggy

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It is short for 'larvae' and indicates how many times it has molted, and by that, in what phase of its life it is in and how big it (approximately) is. Other terms used are 'instar' or 'FH'.
Ah so THAT'S what an instar is. Thanks!
 
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