A Praying Mantis does not have a wide and varied diet and mainly eats arthropods, bugs, honey bees, flies, and small birds. However, they will sometimes eat ants. Ants are usually good at defending themselves from predators but they cannot stand up to a mantis.
Do Praying Mantis Eat Ants?
Adult Praying Mantis’ can reach up to four to five inches in size and have often been known to eat ants alive. The ant, while usually being adept at defending itself from predators, cannot withstand an attack from a mantis. As soon as the Mantis catches hold of the ant, it has no chances of getting away.
An ant is usually between six to twelve millimeters in length, almost one-fifth the size of an average Praying Mantis.
Praying Mantises range in colors, some are brown, green, and even brightly colored. They can easily camouflage themselves in the green-colored flora of their natural habitat in Central America.
They often go unseen by the ants that walk next to them. With the ants just a few millimeters away, the mantis does not even have to lure the ants toward them.
It’s even hypothesized that praying mantis sway to mimic the ant’s movements.
Do praying mantis eat carpenter ants?
Praying Mantis will eat Carpenter ants, however, they are not usually their chosen food source.
Do praying mantis eat fire ants?
A fully sized mantis will usually avoid feeding on ants as they are not big enough to fully satisfy their hunger. However, they have been known to eat fire ants in a pinch.
Do baby praying mantis eat ants?
Baby praying mantis’ start to eat as soon as they emerge out of their eggs. They usually feed on insects smaller than ants when they are still young, but as they get older their diet will become more varied and they will start to eat more than one type of food.
Baby mantis usually eats small insects that are in abundance during the summer months in Central America. Their eggs hatch during these months, perhaps because this abundance helps them to survive.
They usually eat tiny insects such as aphids. As they grow older they will eat larger insects such as ants, beetles, and grasshoppers. However, they do not need to eat that much to satiate their small appetite.
The best food to offer a newborn or baby mantis is a special fruit fly. Learn more about baby praying mantis food habits over here.
What Else Do Praying Mantis Eat Beside Ants?
An adult praying mantis usually feeds on small crickets, bugs, gnats, aphids, and fruit flies and will provide them nutrition into late adulthood.
Praying mantis’ do not tend to eat ants but prefer meat from other insects. It has evolved to depend on small insects and bugs. They eat both carnivores and herbivores however they often supplement their diet with pollen from plants.
A Praying mantis in captive or in the wild will like to feed on the pollen from various flowering plants. They are known to spend a lot of their time on flowers in order to feed on the pollen but also to catch its primary prey of flies or bees. The flowering plants attract a huge variety of flying bugs and insects.
During the autumn, the praying mantis can have difficulty in finding its usual prey of arthropods. Thus it must feed on pollen instead. Pollen offers praying mantis’ a source of protein when their normal food is scarce.
Adult praying mantis, often also choose to feed on those insects that consume pollen. But also prey on mayor insects like spiders.
They are tough creatures and have also even been known to feed on hummingbirds that fall into the trap of the flower sugar water where they go to drink. They may also supplement their diet with frogs, caterpillars, mosquitos, lizards, and leafhoppers.
How Do Praying Mantis Eat?
Most Praying Mantis’ ambush their prey and prefer to catch their prey alive. They get as close as possible and strike as quickly as soon as the insect is in reach.
They usually wait until their prey has adopted a still stance and then they pounce. After it has finished eating, a mantis is thought to clean its whole body.
Mantises have claws at the end of each arm which helps to prevent their prey from escaping their grip.
Should You Feed Your Pet Praying Mantis Ants?
Praying mantis can be kept in captivity, but it is recommended that they are raised alone. They do not need a large space to survive.
In captivity, a mantis’ diet depends on its size. If you have a larger praying mantis pet, you should feed it larger prey such as crickets or flying insects such as honeybees, moths, fruit flies, and flies. However, if your mantis is even larger and more hungry, it may require grasshoppers, beetles, and crickets.