What do baby praying mantis eat?

What do baby praying mantis eat? (And what to avoid at all costs)

While raising a baby praying mantis can be quite simple, a lot of people do have questions about what they should be feeding their insects. Hopefully, the information on this page will help you out.

What Do Baby Praying Mantis Eat?

The food consumed by a baby praying mantis will not be that much different from what an adult praying mantis will eat. This means (mostly) insects. However, what they consume will be much, much smaller. You will likely want to give them food that moves around a lot less too.

Do note: you should probably not be feeding your praying mantis (baby or adult) everything that a praying mantis would eat in the wild e.g. frogs, bees, wasp, ants, or even spiders. A lot of the important offense and defense tools of praying mantis evolve only as they grow older.

For example, the praying mantis’ wings are important for the defense of some species but evolve only in the later stages of their life-cycle.

If you can, try to feed the praying mantis hand-reared insects. Do not just pick them up from your garden. This means that you have less chance of spreading disease.

Small Insects

Fruit flies are brilliant for a baby praying mantis. Although, do make sure that these are relatively young fruit flies. They shouldn’t be larger than the praying mantis. Fruit flies that are a few days old are brilliant for this.

Another reason why you should be raising your own feeder insects. It ensures that you always have the right sizes to feed your praying mantis.

You can also feed the baby praying mantis aphids. Although, fruit flies are probably going to be bit easier for you to raise.

You will only need to add a few fruit flies to the baby mantis enclosure. Two to three per baby praying mantis should be fine. This is another reason as to why we are actually recommending that you use fruit flies. They are not going to harm your baby praying mantis like other insects would.

This means that you can feasibly leave them inside of the enclosure for days, allowing the baby praying mantis to snack on them whenever they need it.

Raw Meat

While we wouldn’t really recommend it, there are some people that have used raw meat to feed their baby praying mantis. However, do bear in mind that you will have two problems here:

  • There is no guarantee that they will actually eat meat.
  • You need to make the meat move somehow in order to give the illusion that it is alive

Some people have dealt with the second issue by attaching the meat to a bit of string so it moves from side to side. However, you still have the issue that there is no guarantee that the praying mantis will take to the meat.

So, what meat can you use? If you must go down this route, and once again we really recommend that you do not, the raw hamburger meat apparently works incredibly well.

How Often Should a Baby Praying Mantis Need to Be Fed?

Your baby praying mantis will need to be fed every 2-3 days.

It is likely that your baby praying mantis will not eat anything for the first few days after it has been born.

The Baby Praying Mantis Are Eating Each Other. Does This Mean They Are Hungry?

No. Praying Mantis can be quite carnivorous. 

The problem is that if you are hand-raising a baby praying mantis, you are not going to be able to recreate the insect growing up in the wild.

When a praying mantis is born in the wild, it will have a lot of space available to it. Resources can be limited, and thus they may eat their siblings, but this is minimal.

When born into captivity, a praying mantis will have up to 100 of their siblings in close proximity. They are taking up resources. They are taking up space. It is pretty much going to be survival of the fittest.

A baby praying mantis isn’t eating the others because it is hungry. It is eating them, so there are more resources and space available.

You can get around this problem by splitting the newly born praying mantis over several enclosures. However, most breeders will not do this. It takes up space. The praying mantis will still eat one another, and it is just annoying to move them from location to location.

But limited resources are not the only reason, why a praying mantis might by dying in captivity.

baby green praying mantis

Should You Give Your Baby Praying Mantis Water?

There is no need to provide a baby praying mantis with water. In fact, you would not even need to provide an adult water. They should be able to get all the water they need from the food that they eat. 

It is important that you do not put a water dish inside of the praying mantis enclosure. If you do, there is a strong chance that your praying mantis could end up drowning, particularly if they are fairly young and do not have the capability to escape the water dish.

To get around this, there are some people that will put water-soaked sponges in the praying mantis enclosure. However, there is still very little need to provide the insect with additional water.


The food that a baby praying mantis eats will not be that different from that of an adult. The only difference is that their food will need to be a lot smaller. Always try to ensure that you feed the baby praying mantis live insects. It is rare that they will consume anything that is already dead.


    Scroll to Top