Just got these guys, here's my sub adult male.
Fantastic! I love the eyes.
I really love mantids! I never thought of keeping them until now. How hard are they to take care of?
I find them extremely easy, kept in a small planted terrarium with lots of sticks that arch so they can hang upside down. being sure that there is at least 3 times the mantids height from top to bottom so they can molt easily.
Generally they require a misting every day or two after the lights come on. I spray the plants/walls and the mist floats onto the mantids, they lick the "dew" off their arms and antennae and will drink off the plants if real thirsty. I usually feed them one to 3 large blue bottle flies a day depending on the size and appetite of the mantid in question. Sometimes a moth or cricket but I feed manly flies to my Ghost Mantids and Spiny Flower Mantids, the only two species I work with at the moment.
You develop a feel for how much they want to eat. Mine generally ate daily until they became adults (excepting pre-molt and molt days) the males now eat way less (every 3rd day or so) and the females eat way more as much as you put in, they'll eat, including the males! Sometimes even after she's acted "full and refused any more food she'll still eat the male! Some people do not feed theirs daily but I generally do. They grow up much faster if you keep their abdomens full and 80-85*F. They live longer in cooler temps (70s*F) and less food. Really they are a trouble free vivarium subject.
Generally they are easy to handle, they prefer to be induced to hop on a stick for being transferred and "handled" than actually being picked up with fingers. Treat them gently and they generally appear to respond in kind. I have never gotten a "threat pose" from any of mine but I never tried to aggravate them either like people show on you tube. I find that somewhat cruel to poke at them and scare them into their displays, they seem very laid back and calm if treated kindly.
I bought a butterfly net incase my males ever took flight during handling sessions but they are so calm and docile I've never needed it for them or any of my other insects.
With any luck my egg case(s) will be fertile and I'll have ghost and spiny flower babies available in Sept/Oct for interested parties.
Last edited by swords; 08-14-2010 at 10:02 PM.
I was wondering the same thing as Dashman. So thank you swords for the detailed response.
When I was younger my mom would put their egg sacks in the garden as an attempt at pest control. She got them at a local nursery along with heaps of lady bugs (never wanted to use pesticides). It seemed to work for the most part.
Now I'm wondering about the practicality of keeping them as a pet, lol.
Just so it's clear for any potential owners, it is illegal to release the exotic "pet" species into the wild. The unwanted extras must be somehow dealt with outside of releasing them.
The garden center species (chinese, european and carolina mantids) are viable pets as well as the exotic species and the garden species' young can be released.
How is called unicorn when there's 2 sets of thingies on the head?
Good growing, Jack
"Never doubt that a small group of concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead, American Anthropologist