Hatching and feeding baby Mantids

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
I have recently started gathering, buying, and hatching mantis to feed the Chameleons. Originally, I had decided that Raising mantids would be too much work and too little reward. But I found mantis ooths over the winter at my local park and decided to give them a try.…

Over the winter it was easy to spot ooths on the bare tree limbs. They tend to be on the outer branches and tips of grasses, and easily snipped off without serious damage to the plants. They can also be fully removed from the branch, without cutting, but there is a risk of crushing them, so care must be taken.

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I placed the ooths in the fridge, where they should keep well until the end of summer. My first batch went so well I ordered 100 more ooths on eBay. eBay definitely seems to be the spot to buy them inexpensively - just be sure to do it over winter so they don’t hatch!

For the first batch I placed Them individually in tall, sealed deli cups. I kept the cups at room temperature and exposed to natural light changes. As the temperatures were on the cooler side, it took about 4-6 weeks for the ooths to hatch.
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The first ooth was a Carolina Mantis, which is a bit smaller ooth and insect than the Chinese Mantis. They were about the size of 2 week old, or 1/8th” crickets. I sprinkled them into the kinyongia cages and the babies went to town! Success!

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Next I placed a Chinese Ooth in each enclosure. Hatching times varies wildly, also between 4-6 weeks... since they were at the bottom, cooler part of the cages.

One morning I found Clarice acting very strange near the bottom of her cage. I was concerned and upon investigation found that the baby mantids hatched and she was in a precarious position trying to snipe them before they even dropped out of the ooth! Delicious!!!

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Now i’m hooked. Some chams enjoy them more (or faster) than others... but all seem to snack on the little guys freely. After a few days, they do begin to cannibalize each other. I have occasional soil gnats and super annoying white flies... so the mantids will help with natural pest patrol in the enclosures until they meet their untimely fate.

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The Chinese Mantids are a tad bit bigger initially, but seem to grow twice as fast as the Carolinas. I have a few in the enclosures that are about the size of a black soldier fly now. I doubt any will make it to adult size, but if they had - the adult carolina mantids are a good feeder size, whereas adult chinese mantids, especially females, will likely be too large for anything other than (maybe) a Parsons.

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My advice is to just throw the ooths in the cage (try to orient them so the babies can dangle down as rhey would hatching from a branch). They dont need any special care or feeding from that point.
 

cyberlocc

Chameleon Enthusiast
THEY ARE TOO CUTE TO FEED!!!

Great Post, I been wanting to get some Ghosts, and try a communal setup.

I couldnt get over having to keep FFs going just for Mantids though. Then you sold me on Mantellas, and now I am considering getting both and justifying the flies....... PSA: Dont talk to Snitz, she makes you buy Stuff!!!

I was talking about the Satanic Geckos, and she alerted me to the Mossy Geckos too. So Great, now I want Mantids, Mantellas, SLTGs and MLTGs!
 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
THEY ARE TOO CUTE TO FEED!!!

Great Post, I been wanting to get some Ghosts, and try a communal setup.

I couldnt get over having to keep FFs going just for Mantids though. Then you sold me on Mantellas, and now I am considering getting both and justifying the flies....... PSA: Dont talk to Snitz, she makes you buy Stuff!!!

I was talking about the Satanic Geckos, and she alerted me to the Mossy Geckos too. So Great, now I want Mantids, Mantellas, SLTGs and MLTGs!

Me too! My only dilemma is that meddling husband - always snagging my plans!

They are cute! All baby bugs seem to be. There are tons of them - most like to hang near the lights but many spread around the leaves.

I tried to get ghost ooths from usmantis, but they never shipped or responded. For feeders, theyre overkill. I like the easy of just hatching right in the cage.

The challenge with babies is that they are super fast! So opening the little container to throw in FFs will prob let 20 escape! Now you need cages for mantids!
 

nick barta

Chameleon Enthusiast
Site Sponsor
Great post. typically US ooths are harvested December January. The best time to buy them is January, and place them in your refrigerator. By June/July those ooths will begin to have lower hatch rates and no hatches as well. Buying ooths June/July on will not get you good hatch rates.

CHEERS!

Nick
 
Yeah I can't bear to feed mantids off, I like them too much. Especially when you see them in the wild, or raise some as a pet of your own.

Great thread.
 

cyberlocc

Chameleon Enthusiast
Me too! My only dilemma is that meddling husband - always snagging my plans!

They are cute! All baby bugs seem to be. There are tons of them - most like to hang near the lights but many spread around the leaves.

I tried to get ghost ooths from usmantis, but they never shipped or responded. For feeders, theyre overkill. I like the easy of just hatching right in the cage.

The challenge with babies is that they are super fast! So opening the little container to throw in FFs will prob let 20 escape! Now you need cages for mantids!

Who said Feeders? I am trying to breed them as Pets, and feed off the gonna die soon :).
 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thought some of ya’ll weirdos might enjoy this (shakey) clip of a 1-2 week old Chinese mantis eating a bsf. Quite a big meal!! The chinese are undoubtedly larger, but also seem to be more aggressive hunters.

 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
For today's lesson of "What not to do..."

Don't hatch your ooths right up against the cage's screen. :rolleyes: They will somehow hatch THROUGH the screen, and come out on hte other side. - said the girl who has 100+ baby mantids in her living room now. They literally busted through the ooth in the absolute perfect position where they spilled out on the other side of the screen. Goes to show you how small they are when they emerge from the ooth.... then they straighten up almost immediately to a size that is far too large to squeeze through it.
 

Madmango

Established Member
Thanks for this post. Great photos I have not tried any mantis as feeders. I really enjoy having them in my garden during the summer and find them fascinating. I don’t know if I could bring myself to feed them to my chameleons until reading your post. seeing how much your little guys enjoy them has changed my mind. I’m going to have to give them a try 👌
 
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