I bought this beautiful little California praying mantis nymph from an exotic pet store that I didn't know existed till two days ago. /brick'd
I call her Mari, which is short for marigold (which was in the tank with her at the shop). I keep her in a small kritter keeper with a plastic plant to climb on. She's a real sweetie, and whenever she sees my hand she reaches with her little arms 'till she can get to me.
However, she won't eat. I've tried very small crickets, ants, a teeny caterpillar, and a weird unnamed gnat thing I found in my kitchen. She basically ignores them - one ant walked right in front of her and she just watched it, and she literally stepped right over the caterpillar. I don't know if she's getting ready to molt, or if she's nervous, or what her problem is. I'll be buying a container of flightless fruit flies from Petco as soon as they get them in stock and hope for the best with those guys, but until then, does anyone have any tips for getting her to eat? I'm getting nervous that she might not last too long if she doesn't eat soon. Thanks to anyone who can help!~
grats on Mari (love the name)
I don;t know a thing about them. However, I saw them once in the LPS and was moaning aloud about the price for them because I saw a dead one.. Then I looked again and it was alive and I got scared until I figured out that it had molted and I was looking at it's shed skin o.o A little traumatized.
I don't know what to do to encourage her to eat. Maybe they don't eat a lot anyways and she just ate recently at the store?
Heh, I would probably be traumatized as well. I know when Mari molts, I'll freak, especially since she's great at hiding.
And I guess she might have eaten recently, although considering it's been 2 days since I've bought her you would think she would at least acknowledge her food. Maybe I'm just being paranoid, haha.
What a beautiful insect! I used to be obsessed with these....then one day I went outside and in the corner of the doorway I saw a praying mantis stuck in a spider web, freaking out and trying to get away. I ran to grab my kritter keeper but when I came back the thing had escaped. It was a light brown color, very beautiful with a crinkled leaf pattern. These guys are just big helpers. I think one day I'll buy some praying mantis eggs, hatch them, and just let them all loose into my yard :)
Good luck with your little bug :)
Awh! So adorable.. our kitchen's always got a few mantises roaming about in it during the warmer months, since we don't have window screens.
What instar stage is she? Two or three?
She may be getting to ready to molt, which means she won't be very hungry or appreciate being disturbed.
And she may not eat ants at all - they have a nasty smell and taste that a lot of predators don't like. If the weather is warm, try leaving a glass of red wine outside with a thin bit of cloth over it. Little fruit flies are attracted to the wine (we call them 'wine buddies' ) and may land on the cloth so you can catch them. Mantises are also attracted to motion, so try holding a very small moth by one wing while the other flaps.. or ripping one wing off, if you're not squeamish, and letting it crawl around. The tricky thing is stress during molting isn't good, either.. so best to put a few small wingless moths or flies in to crawl about rather than putting your hands near her. Placing her in a smaller container while she's little at feeding times may help her find the food!
Are you misting her leaves now and then to provide a little moisture?
To add to Aus's post....
Another way to get fruit flies, which is how I used to catch them for my (wild) treefrogs that I caught and kept for a while was....
What you need~~~
1 glass jar (small preferred)
1 ripe banana
1 bottle cap
1 piece of cloth (thin) that is large enough to cover the opening of the jar
Cloth large enough to over tank
What you need to do is take the (clean) glass jar and set it down. Take the banana, peel it, and take the softest part out with your fingers. Put the piece inside of the bottle cap and leave it outside for a couple of days. Make sure that it's near a place where a compost pile might be, or near a fruit bowl in your house, so there are lots of fruit flies.
After a couple of days (or even a few hours) you'll see that the banana is turning mushy and brown. This is good. Soon fruit flies will be drawn to the scent, and will hang out on/around the rotten fruit. They will lay their eggs inside of the banana piece, and will hand out for a bit. Watch the jar carefully, now.
When you see a lot of fruit flies around (usually around 7-10), take the cloth and wait for most of them to get in the jar. Once "enough" are in, quickly cover the top with the cloth. Rubberband it down so that no flies can escape.
Wait around 3 days with the jar in your house in a warm, out of direct sunlight location. You'll see more fruit flies than every hovering around. Now, here's the tricky part. You don't want flies all over your house, so take the mantis tank outside along with the culture of flies.
Take the bottle cap out from the jar and carefully put it in the tank where your mantis WILL find it, and where plants and things won't cover it. Use the larger cloth to cover the tank's lid so no flies will escape.
I hope this works and your little buddy can finally eat!
Thank you for all of the help, everyone! Turns out the little thing was just molting - when I went to mist her cage yesterday morning I found her shell on the ground and she was happily munching on a cricket I had given her a couple of days before. She's eaten a couple of wingless fruit flies since then too, so I think she's good to go. I'll definitely keep those ways to catch fruit flies in mind, though - they might come in handy later on. <3
And no, I don't think mantis's are endangered. Maybe a few particular species, but so far I haven't seen a law against hurting them and they seem to be all over around here.