SECTION 1 : Your first pet mantis

If you have a new pet mantis, you are surely excited, but most likely you are also very anxious and worried that you do not know how to provide care for your mantis! You are correct in your assumption that mantids need very specific care and attention. You must provide the mantis with housing with adequate humidity and ventilation, you must provide the correct temperature and the right type and amount of feeder insects. Tame mantids will not harm humans, wild mantids have never been reported to attack a human. Humans certainly do become fearful if a mantis lands on them outside, but it is much more likely that a human will harm a mantis, rather than a mantis ever harming a human! Mantids are non poisonous and they do not have a habit of biting humans unless the mantis is in a state of extreme fear. Most people are fearful of mantids, but this fear is the result of what mantids can do to insects or small animals such as small frogs or mice. Only the larger species' of mantis can eat frogs or mice. A full grown mantis of the T Sinensis species is capable of eating humming birds, snake hatchlings, small rats and mice, frogs, lizards and very large insects. There are about 2000 known species' of praying mantis. There are about 20 known species in the United States. Some are native mantids, such as the Carolina mantis (scientific name, S. carolina), the California Mantis (S. californica), Silver Bark Mantis (G. grisea), Brunners Stick Mantis (B brunneria), Arizona Unicorn Mantis (P Arizonae). Among others, all of these mantids are native to the United States. Some of the mantids in the United States were purposely or accidentally imported by the USDA, farmers or cargo ships. Some mantids from overseas are smuggled in from Africa, Malaysia, India and other countries. Most of the mantids which are not native to the U.S. are illegal to possess, buy, sell, trade, import or ship into or within the United States, no matter if they are captive bred or wild collected, they are prohibited by U.S. Federal Law which is enforced by USDA/APHIS. The illegal mantids are non native invasive species'. Non native invasives are not allowed here in the United States not because the mantis itself is a threat, but because some carry pathogens which can harm trees, pathogens the foreign mantids carry and transmit which our native and accepted imports do not carry or spread. Our trees have no immunity to the foreign pathogens, therefore most non native mantids are not allowed. One must have a permit to possess the non native species, the permit is nearly impossible to obtain unless you are work with a zoo or museum. Preserved specimens of those mantids are allowed, but no live specimens are allowed without the proper permits. There are many U.S. Native mantids which are as interesting as any of the illegal non native invasives. Some mantids are easy to raise, some are nearly impossible to raise indoors until you are an advance mantis care expert. It is best to start by raising a species such as the California Mantis. The California Mantis is by far the easiest species to raise indoors. European mantids have a very high die off rate. Chinese mantids also have a high die off rate, but so many of the common chinese mantids hatch from one egg that even if 30% of them die, you will find yourself with way to many to raise indoors. If you have lots of time and space, you could manage to raise all that survive from one egg, but I find it best to limit the number of mantids to about 10 or 20, only 2 or 3 if you are very limited on time. If you have the time and desire, you can successfully breed pairs of mantids to produce offspring as you will learn in the mantis breeding chapter. With proper care and a variety of foods, your pet mantis will thrive and bring you many moments of laughter,companionship and entertainment.

U.S. Native Mantis Species offered at

1. Your first pet mantis
2. Handling your pet mantis
3. Outdoor and Indoor Mantids ~ Housing Mantids
4. Temperature, ventilation and humidity
5. Feeding mantids
6. Molts and growth
7. Breeding and ootheca (egg case) production
8. Ootheca Incubation ~ Hatching Mantis Eggs
9. Hazards and dangers to avoid when raising a pet mantis
10. Legal information ~ Mantis Species' ~ Legal U.S. Native / USDA Accepted Adventive Mantids vs. non native invasive illegal Foreign Mantids
11. Praying Mantis and Mantis Ootheca identification, Short list of U.S. Native Praying Mantis
12. Special techniques
13. History of the praying mantis in human culture
14. Basic mantis physiology
HOME ~ Return to the front cover page of the guide to raising U.S. Native Praying Mantis Insects