What do mantis eat?

praying mantis in the wild
This article was written by EB React on 19/05/2024
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** The 3 prefered foods of Praying mantis **

- Crickets: Crickets are a common prey for mantises, providing a good source of protein and nutrients. They are easy to catch and digest, making them a staple in the mantis diet both in the wild and in captivity. 

- Fruit Flies: Fruit flies are especially important for young mantises (nymphs) due to their small size. They are readily available and serve as an excellent food source that helps nymphs grow and develop. 

- Grasshoppers: Grasshoppers are another favorite, particularly for larger mantises. They offer a substantial meal due to their size and are rich in essential nutrients that support the mantis's health and growth.

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Diet of Praying Mantises

Feeding Techniques and Tips


Diet of Praying Mantises

What Do Praying Mantises Eat in the Wild?

In the wild, praying mantises are voracious predators, primarily feeding on live insects. Their diet includes crickets, flies, grasshoppers, and beetles. They are skilled hunters, using their keen eyesight and swift reflexes to capture prey. Occasionally, larger mantises may even catch small vertebrates like lizards or frogs. Their hunting strategy involves patience and stealth, often ambushing unsuspecting prey. By consuming a variety of insects, praying mantises play a crucial role in controlling pest populations, maintaining ecological balance in their natural habitats.

What Do Praying Mantises Eat in Captivity?

In captivity, praying mantises thrive on a diet of live insects. Their favorite foods include crickets, fruit flies, and small grasshoppers. It's crucial to provide a variety of prey to ensure they receive all necessary nutrients. Feed young mantises (nymphs) smaller insects like fruit flies, while adult mantises can handle larger prey such as crickets and grasshoppers. Avoid overfeeding and ensure prey size is appropriate to prevent harm. A well-balanced diet will keep your pet mantis healthy and active, mimicking their natural hunting habits.

Nutritional Needs of Praying Mantises

Mantis have specific nutritional needs to thrive. Their diet primarily consists of live insects like crickets, fruit flies, and grasshoppers, which provide essential proteins and nutrients. A varied diet ensures they get all necessary vitamins and minerals. Younger mantises, or nymphs, need smaller prey such as fruit flies, while adults can handle larger insects. It's crucial to avoid overfeeding and to ensure prey is appropriately sized to prevent choking. Proper nutrition supports their growth, reproduction, and overall health, making it vital for any mantis, whether in the wild or captivity.

Feeding Techniques and Tips

what do mantis eat

How to Feed a Praying Mantis

Feeding a praying mantis is straightforward but requires care. Provide live insects like crickets, fruit flies, or small grasshoppers, which mantises prefer. Ensure the prey is appropriately sized—about half the length of the mantis. Place the live food in the mantis's habitat and let it hunt naturally. Feed young mantises daily and adults every other day. Always remove any uneaten prey to keep the environment clean. Avoid overfeeding, as it can cause health issues. With proper care, your mantis will thrive on a healthy diet.

Common Mistakes in Feeding Praying Mantises

Feeding mantises can be tricky, and common mistakes often lead to health issues. One frequent error is overfeeding, which can cause obesity and shorten their lifespan. Underfeeding is also problematic, resulting in malnutrition and stunted growth. Another mistake is offering inappropriate food, such as insects that are too large or harmful to the mantis. It's crucial to provide a varied diet of suitable prey like crickets and fruit flies. Additionally, ensuring that the prey is live and not contaminated with pesticides is essential for the mantis's well-being.


Summary of Key Points

Mantises have a diverse diet that primarily consists of insects like crickets, fruit flies, and grasshoppers. Their predatory nature makes them efficient hunters, relying on stealth and speed to catch their prey.

Whether in the wild or captivity, a varied diet is crucial for their health and development. By understanding what mantises eat, we can better appreciate these fascinating creatures and ensure proper care for those kept as pets.

Overall, a balanced diet is key to maintaining a healthy and thriving mantis.


EB React / Editor

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