Our new pets: praying mantis babies

Praying mantis babies as pets
Unable to resist any opportunity for growing things, playing with bugs, or learning about things in the garden, my daughter talked us into buying two praying mantis {or praying mantid} egg cases at the Sorticulture garden festival this year.  They were supposed to hatch within a week or two, and quite honestly we had given up hope until this weekend when we saw our first nymph emerge from the nest, almost exactly 4 weeks after we brought them home and placed them in our bug case.

Praying mantis hatching
At first, we had 12 or 13 nymphs out, and by the next day we had so many praying mantis babies that we were sending them home with people and sprinkling them throughout the neighborhood in an effort to keep them separated from each other.  Even after sharing the mantis love, we still have a full bug case waiting for homes. 

Mantis in cage
And, I must admit that they are pretty adorable.  They look just like a full grown mantis except they don’t have wings yet and instead just jump quickly.  Even though they are just babies and are roughly the size of a large ant, they seem very friendly and “pet-like” according to 75% of my family.  The other 25% isn’t quite sure about them, but they are definitely growing on him. 

Reasons you should consider getting a praying mantis {or 100}:

  1. They eat all sorts of pests like moths, crickets, mites, aphids, grasshoppers, flies, and other insects, which means they are great garden helpers.
  2. Rumor has it that you can feed them by hand as they get older and their little arms will grab food from you.  I have no idea if this is true, but my daughter believes it is, thus why she was adamant she keep a few as “pets”.
  3. They live for 10 – 12 months, which is my perfect pet timeline.
  4. How can you NOT love a praying bug?

Praying mantis baby
Reading up on praying mantids a bit, they look pretty easy to take care of; they just need branches to climb on {check}, insects to hunt {check} and water to drink {check – this is the Pacific Northwest, after all}.

Thinking of getting a praying mantis and want to learn more? Read up at National Geographic, It’s Nature, and Animal Web Guide.

Leanne Signature 2This post is not compensated in any way, nor do we claim to be experts on mantis, mantids or baby nymphs. 

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