While most of us think of puppy dogs and kitties when someone says they have a pet, there are a host of amazing creatures that make great pets. Exotic animals can be a problem but many types of reptiles including various snakes and iguanas are often not only cared for but loved by the people they live with these days. Insects can make for interesting pets because they are so different from us. Besides the traditional ant farm, the preying mantis is a beautiful creature that is also a very interesting pet. Whether you get your praying mantis from a field near your home or at the local pet shop, there are some basics you should know before you start having one as a pet.
Build the Right Enclosure
While the insect isn’t that big, a praying mantis in the wild has a pretty big territory. They move around from branch to branch and like to travel when they are moulting. This means that any enclosure you make for them needs to have lots of room and plenty of levels for them to travel through to stay healthy.
Make sure the enclosure is at the least three times the length of its body and at the minimum the width of the cage should be twice its own body size. Of course, it is even better if you can make it bigger so that the mantis has plenty of room to move around.
Creating the Right Atmosphere
You will need to research the environment that your praying mantis came from if you buy it at a pet store to ensure that the home you build for it has the right temperature and humidity. Many of these insects live in a hot moist climate so be sure you think about this when creating a home for it. If you bring one in from the fields nearby, then be sure that where you place the enclosure doesn’t get too hot and has enough of a breeze to keep the air fresh.
What Does My Mantis Eat?
Making sure that your mantis has the right food is critical. You can research the particular species that you have to be sure that the bugs you give it are the ones it eats in the wild. A mantis will want its food live, much like you would with a snake. But because they are small, your mantis will only need a fly or caterpillar for its meal.
Don’t feed it every day. Like most carnivorous animals in the wild, it only eats every couple of days. Overfeeding it can actually be bad for it, so do your research. Also, an adult female will eat more than a young male, so be sure the find out how to determine what sex your pet praying mantis is when planning its meals.
Learning to Love the Mantis
While they are not the traditional cute little creature, a praying mantis for a pet can be a fascinating project. They are exotic, almost alien looking to many. With hundreds of species to choose from, you may soon find yourself looking at the more unusual types and exploring the history of these exotic creatures. One thing is certain; they are never boring, especially when it comes to their legendary mating habits.