Q:Hello! I'm not really a bug person, but I found your blog very interesting so I had to follow. I never even realized mantids could be kept as pets so it's quite interesting to hear they have different temperaments and what not. It would be great to see some pictures of the enclosures if you could at some point?
Hello and thank you for following us! And yes, they can be kept as pets. They make for very interesting companions, and their temperaments are fun to observe.
Not sure how photo’s in answers work, but if correct then above is a photo of two of my enclosures. The right one is currently empty, but the left one has my orchid female. All by herself. Since she’d eat anyone else with her. Mantids can’t be kept together unless you have one of the more social species, and even then risk of cannibalism remains. An enclosure needs to be 3x the lenght of an adult mantis in height at least. So they have enough space to shed. But about my own enclosures. I keep them fairly simple. Mantids like to hang at the top upside down mostly, so they need some netting there. Mine also have netting in the back, and some of the enclosures have netting on the side. Not all species can climb glass so sometimes netting every side is best. (And they’ll still try to climb the doors just watch.)
I do like to put in some fake flowers.. Because otherwise it’s so empty haha! Kitchen towels for the bottom to handle humidity and moisture. Everyone uses something else for that, but kitchen towel has always worked best for me. Easy to clean up too! I used to have potting earth at the bottom of my enclosures, but I unfortunately got fungus from it. Especially combined with wood it didn’t work out so well.
The bark in my left enclosure has also gone through an hour of being in an oven of 100 celcius, to make sure all bacteria and thingies are dead. Not everyone does that, I just thought that was best. The other pieces of wood are decorative pieces of driftwood I believe.
Here is my orchid enclosure a bit more upclose. She was eying me warily.
In this one I have a Parasphendale Affinis, or a Budwing mantis. She is such a great mantis btw, my oldest one at the moment too. Lives long, ferocious hunter, big eyes. But people just love those white orchids. Anyway, she has the same kind of setup, with some unfertilized ooths (unfortunately), netting and some kitchen towel.
And this is how I keep my babies. The lid of this plastic container has been cut out and replaced with netting so they have space to hang. The bottom is paper towel, again, and some simple sticks to help her climb around. Mantids shouldn’t have too big an enclosure because it becomes harder to catch their food if they have too much space. So especially my babies I keep in smaller enclosure. My orchid enclosure is a bit too big for her but she catches her food just fine. Flying food tends to go to the ceiling too. The dummies.
Anyway, hope this helped!
Q:I am not usually a fan of insects but I stumbled upon your blog and think it's great. The variety of mantids is amazing.
Thank you so much! Most of the bugs are my own, I love having different species. And I know the feeling, haha, insects used to not provoke the best feelings in me either. I do think mantids are the easiest to get used to, likely because they have such an easy to define front and back! And a head that turns. Very expressive critters. But since I’ve started keeping mantids I’ve been more comfortable around many bugs, it’s great!
Q:Hi, I'm looking into getting an Orchid mantis. I was just wondering if you knew where to get one and maybe any other information you have on them as pets. I really love your blog, amazing photographs. Thank you very much.
The best place to visit really, if you’re from America, is the mantidforum. At the bottom of their forum, they have a part where people post topics on mantids they’re selling or looking for. Actually right now someone is selling orchids. You want to look at the “Mantids for sale/wanted” topic. Admittedly though, orchids are expensive, and not really the best starter mantis. Though I guess, if you read on them enough any mantis can be a starter mantis.
This is a good website about orchid care, and it might also be an idea to register at the UK mantis forums. We europeans just seem to get orchids more often, and admittedly I like the caresheets they provide more as well.
Otherwise, you’re free to ask me anything as well. Winter might be a difficult time to get mantids, since shipping them in the cold is a bit of a risk, and half of the fun is catching food outside for your mantis. Unless you have 50. Then you’re better off raising maggots.
Oh and thanks for the compliment! I’m just an amateur really, but mantids are a lot of fun to make pictures of. When they work along, and aren’t running off somewhere.