How Long Do Praying Mantis Live? Managing Your Pet Mantis

Hemant Oswal
Sep 04, 2023 By Hemant Oswal
Originally Published on Nov 04, 2021
Fact-checked by Niyati Parab
Female European Mantis.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.2 Min

Do you want to have a praying mantis as a pet instead of an animal?

However, can you keep them as pets or not? We are here to help you out with learning more about these insects with compound eyes.

People keep unusual pets such as birds and bats, but some keep insects as their pets. Mantis are the most common insects which are kept as pets. The praying mantis is a small insect that looks like it is praying when it stands still because of its front legs. They look so cute as pets. Not all mantis look nice; some also look terrifying. For example, the devil's flower mantis looks like a smaller version of a dragon who might eat you. The giant Asian mantis, which is the most common species of mantis known for being good pets, looks nice and friendly. Mantis are so easy to keep as pets that even a child of 11-12 years can manage them. So, yes, you can definitely have a praying mantis as your pet. Do you know that praying mantis can eat grasshoppers, flies, and cockroaches? Let's find out more fun facts about these animals.

After reading about molting in these animals after they hatch, do check out can praying mantis fly and can a praying mantis hurt you.

How long does a small praying mantis live?

Mantis, of the order Mantodea, are insects that have more than 2,400 species divided into 33 different families. Mantidae or Mantids is the largest family among them. All the praying mantids have enlarged forelegs or front legs, which look like praying poses when they are stationary. As the mantis grows, it will shed its skin several times, becoming larger at each stage.

This gives them the title of praying mantids. These insects have enlarged forelegs to catch prey and maintain a good grip on them. They are one of the most notorious predators in the wild. A praying mantid is also referred to as a praying mantis. They are actually both the same thing.

The age of a praying mantis depends on various factors such as the species, environment, food availability, sex, and the threat of predators. Do you know that male mantis live longer than female mantis? Male mantis live for an average of 7-20 months, while females live only 8-12 months. This is because they need four to six months to reach the stage of maturity, and, when an adult female mantis lays eggs, she can't live for more than two weeks after that. If she survives after two weeks then she will live no longer than four months. A male mantis lives from three to eight months after being mature. This is about the bigger mantis, but smaller mantis live much less than this. A small mantis only lives four to six weeks. Isn't that sad? You get a cute, small mantis, and it will only live for a few weeks.

Longest Living Mantis Species

The species of mantis or mantids can be a large factor in determining their age. The age of a mantis depends on the species they belong to. For example, the Chinese mantis can live from six to nine months, while the average age of a European mantis is 8-12 months, and an orchid mantis has an average lifespan of only six months. This depends on their habitat, as every mantis species has its own distinct habitat.

The longest living mantis species is the giant Asian mantis. Their original habitat is Asia. Their average lifespan is 18-24 months. Now, this is a mantis that you can keep as a pet animal. An interesting fact about this species is that they are comparatively very large in size, which makes them popular as pets. They are about 3-3.5 inches (eight to nine centimeters) long. If you find someone saying that they have a pet mantis, they probably have a giant Asian mantis as a pet.

These mantis species are generally green in color but are also found in other colors like brown, beige (sometimes pinkish), and yellow. This color variation depends on the environment they live in to help them camouflage. They can eat almost everything. When they are adults, they can eat crickets, flies, locusts, big cockroaches, and even grasshoppers.

Mantis lurking on the green leaf.

What are their main threats?

A praying mantis is a small insect that has a number of threats. It is a great predator, but it too has threats from other predators. The primary predators of a praying mantis include large birds, monkeys, bats, frogs, snakes, and even spiders. There are threats from other species and insects that can fly, but they are also threatened by their own species too.

This behavior is called cannibalism. Cannibalism means killing and eating members of one's own species. Praying mantis or mantids are cannibals. If there is a shortage of food, they have to practice cannibalism to survive. They have to eat each other to fulfill their energy needs. Although praying mantis like to live alone, they sometimes have to live in groups to fulfill their daily food requirements. If the availability of food does not match their requirements, they fight and end up eating each other.

You can also threaten a praying mantis. You are very big compared to it. If you hold a praying mantis with force, it might feel threatened and may bite you to protect itself. To threaten their predators, praying mantis tend to stand tall, spread their front legs, and fan their wings to frighten predators. So, next time when you hold a praying mantis, be careful and hold it gently so it feels safe with you.

How old can a praying mantis become?

There are many factors that determine the age of a praying mantis, such as its species. A praying mantis is not a single species of mantis, but there are a number of species under the tag of praying mantis. They are large and small, cute and dangerous, and found in different colors such as green, yellow, brown, and other varieties. These differences arise due to the different species of praying mantis.

Larger mantis live longer than smaller species. There is also a study that reveals the fact that female mantis live longer than male mantis. In the case which we discussed earlier, the age of male and female mantis is particular to one species. But in general, females live longer than males. Do you know that in most species of mantis, females are larger and bulkier than males? This is probably because they have to lay eggs, which require some special modifications in their body. There are some other features that also distinguish a male mantis from a female one, such as their legs and other body parts. On average, praying mantis live for four weeks to one year. This difference is so big because of their different species.

How do I know if my mantis is an adult?

A praying mantis needs four to six months to reach the stage of maturity from the nymphal stage. When it reaches that stage, it becomes an adult and will live for the next three to eight months. You can count the months to determine whether your mantis is an adult or not.

What if you forgot to count? There should be another interesting way to know that your praying mantis is now an adult. Well, you can also determine the maturity of your praying mantis by its wings. An adult mantis has wings while a nymph does not. There are also some rare cases when mantis cannot grow wings after being an adult. This is a rare case, so do not worry.

Also, the size of a mantis is not a parameter to determine the stages of its life. Some species can only grow up to one in (three cm) in size, and this won't tell you whether they are adults or not. Although mantis grow in size from nymphs to adults, sometimes that difference is not enough to determine their age.

What is the longest living praying mantis?

Praying mantis are insects that do not live for a long period of time. They have a short lifespan.

Sometimes their lifespan is as short as only a few weeks, and sometimes as long as one year. Do you know that some species can live up to two years in captivity? The species of praying mantis that lives the longest is the giant Asian mantis. They typically live for 18-24 months.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 'How long do praying mantis live?' then why not take a look at 'Are praying mantis dangerous?', or 'Praying mantis facts.

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Written by Hemant Oswal

Bachelor of Commerce, Master's degree specializing in Marketing

Hemant Oswal picture

Hemant OswalBachelor of Commerce, Master's degree specializing in Marketing

With global experience in marketing and business development, Hemant is a seasoned professional with a unique perspective. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from the University of Delhi and a Master's degree in Marketing from The University of Adelaide in Australia. Hemant's work in China, Hong Kong, and Dubai has honed his skills and provided valuable experience. He broadens his understanding of the world through reading non-fiction books and watching documentaries.

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