It’s not everyone’s first choice, admittedly, but I’m hoping I can inspire someone to step out of the ordinary and try something a little bit different. Rather than jumping in with an exotic animal that has more complicated care, I will forever recommend a praying mantis as a first-time choice.
This post will outline some of my top reasons for choosing a Praying Mantis as a pet – my experiences have come from owning an African Mantis, so different species may vary…
They’re relatively inexpensive:
One of the major factors that puts people off an exotic pet, is the cost of a suitable set-up, as well as the animal itself. This is something that makes a mantis so appealing – especially for me. Some of the more common species require nothing more than a suitably sized tank, with a basic substrate and a couple of fake plants/features.
I picked my tank up for a fiver on a Facebook sales post, popped some spare soil in the base (paper towels are also fine), and filled the void with an old, cleaned aquarium plant and a rock – simple!
They’re easy to care for:
The second thing I’ve found to put people off an exotic species, is the level of care required. It’s true to think that most out of the ordinary animals will require out of the ordinary care – but I’ve found a mantis to be relatively simple.
My girl hasn’t had a heat mat attached for a while as the house is warm enough, and I give her a misting of water daily. I can then either throw a bug in her tank every few days for her to stalk, or bring her out and feed her by hand if I have more time.
They’re incredible to watch:
I’ve had a lot of visitors to my house, most of which have cringed at the thought of sharing space with a mantis. I usually encourage them to see mine on my hands so they can get a better look at her. Whether it’s the way they sway when they walk or turn their head to look at you, my visitors are instantly captivated. There are plenty that continue to refuse to touch or hold her, but they’ve never been put off watching her.
They’re aggressively carnivorous:
Not for people, I might add, please don’t think they’ll be preying on you next!
If you like watching nature programs to see the predator stalk and hunt prey, you’ll love a praying mantis. There’s something exciting and sinister about how they turn their head to lock on to prey they notice. They move slowly and stealthily, then rush quickly to grasp their unsuspecting victim. To top it off, they then proceed to eat prey alive while it struggles to break free. It’s pretty metal!
They’re surprisingly peaceful:
Contradicting the previous point, I actually find them very peaceful. Something about the way they sit still for hours, occasionally looking around or cleaning themselves, just brings a little bit of peace to my somewhat frantic lifestyle. I often bring mine out to sit and watch TV with me, or just pop her on a shelf in the house to let her explore (making sure windows are shut tight of course).
With the above in mind, is there really a reason for you not to think about having a praying mantis for a pet? I think they make an excellent first pet for a suitably aged child, due to the level of care required. They’re similar to stick insects, but with the exciting predator-appeal children love. They don’t take up much space and they don’t cost the earth, so what’s there to think about?
If you still need convincing, feel free to ask me questions on social media or via my contact page.
Please ensure when getting any new pet, you do thorough research and seek guidance from an experienced individual. Don’t forget to support good local breeders and pet stores…