Those of you who have been interested in trying your hands at raising some pet mantids the easiest to start with are the common types are considered naturalized and are allowed to be released in the garden as pest control. You can hatch one or more of these kinds of egg cases and save a couple babies and let the rest go in the garden. Unlike the exotic species which can never be released but must be destroyed or given to other responsible hobbyists.
Anyway, from now until spring the prices on "garden mantis" species egg cases are low on ebay. Once spring/summer comes the prices go up dramatically. So if you're interested buy em now and store them in the fridge until you want to hatch them. It should be warm outside before you release them so in MN I can't put them out before Mid May.
Here are the egg case listings:
Babies will need lots of fruit flies to eat for their first 2 - 4 weeks (they can't eat ants and are afraid of food that's too big) so be sure to get a box of fruit fly culture kits before you need them. Make up at least one new culture from the culture you receive as you wait for the egg case to hatch so you are certain to have food.
I buy this guys when I'm gonna need fruit flies for babies: http://cgi.ebay.com/Fruit-Flies-Cult...item230901b00d
The 10 kit pack comes with an active culture with whatever size flies you want and all supplies except R/O water. The pack lasts a long time and I never use them all for one batch of babies but the big cups come in handy for other stuff and the excess fruit fly food can be fed to houseflies & crickets (in DRY powder form) as the mantids grow up and move on to bigger prey items.
If you wish to know more before jumping in I urge interested parties to join the mantid forums here: http://mantidforum.net/forums/