Praying Mantis Escapes Death on Windshield, Now Beloved / Endangered Pet

A couple days ago we hopped into our car and pulled out of the driveway. Moments later, I saw an interesting looking insect clinging to our windshield. I thought it looked like a praying mantis, and sure enough Alicia thought it was too.

After a few moments of high stakes 30 mph driving, we pulled over and Alicia plucked our new friend off of the windshield. Alicia’s mom once kept a pet praying mantis in her home in Peru, and as a result, within moments of getting home Alicia had created a makeshift terrarium for the praying mantis. She’s been obsessed over the past few days with getting this tiny fellow a meal, and so we’ve tried a number of insects from our yard, as well as some flightless fruit flies we keep for our carnivorous plant terrarium (yes, that’s another “pet” that merits discussion at a separate time).

At only about 0.25 inches long, it does seem like the praying mantis is a nymph. We have yet to observe it eating one of the insects we have tried to bring in for its dining pleasure. So far, we’ve mostly been using large leaves from some zucchini we are growing to create habitat and ideally give the nymph a few smaller insects to munch upon that were lounging on the zucchini (see photo above). We are getting concerned, however, that the praying mantis won’t make it much longer if it doesn’t eat.

Any suggestions? Has anyone ever kept a wild praying mantis as a pet before?

Photo © Levi T. Novey

2 thoughts on “Praying Mantis Escapes Death on Windshield, Now Beloved / Endangered Pet

  1. We have had good results keeping the flightless fruit fly culture in the enclosure with the mantis nymphs- it provides a constant food supply that the little mantis can handle. Also, misting the enclosure with water a couple times a day without soaking it is recommended. Mantis nymphs get some moisture out of their food, but still need some water.
    The resource I read suggested that after three moltings, the mantis is in good shape to be let loose, if that is your ultimate goal. We have hundreds of the little guys- so undoubtedly we will let some go when the time comes, and keep one or two as “pets.” Good luck- I think they are just the neatest little bugs!

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