European Mantis (Mantis religiosa)

Here in the US, keeping a praying mantis as a pet is slowly becoming a popular trend. If you happen to be in Europe then the European Mantis will be the species more accessible to you.

This incredible variation is easy to care for, especially when you read this handy guide to Mantis religiosa care.

In this article, we will talk about their diet and feeding habits, housing, as well as enclosure requirements.

We will also cover temperature and light requirements, breeding and reproduction, and potential health issues.

Get ready to learn all you need to know so you can ensure your pet mantis is the most spoiled predator in the hobby.

Common Name European Mantis
Family Name Mantidae
Scientific Name Mantis religiosa
Use Pets
Temperament Non-aggressive
Lifespan 8 to 12 Months
Diet Carnivores
Adult Size 1.7 to 3.5 in
Breeding Type Egg Layer
Care Level Moderate
Minimum Tank Size 1 Gallon
pH 6.5-7.5
Hardness Moderate
Temperature 64-82°F

What Is An European Mantis?

European mantises, scientifically known as Mantis religiosa, belong to the Mantidae family of insects.

Commonly referred to as “praying mantises” due to the way they hold their front legs (in a position where they look like they are praying), these insects are native to Europe and have a variety of subspecies.

European mantises get their scientific name, Mantis religiosa, from their common name; which was given by ancient Greeks due to the way the insects appeared to be in a prayer-like stance.

These fascinating creatures are carnivores and can be found in woods, meadows, and gardens across Europe and scattered areas of North America.

What Does European Mantis Look Like?

European mantises are between 1.7 to 3.5 inches in size depending on the gender and typically have an overall green or brown color.

They have two large compound eyes, with two or three ocelli (small eyes) between them. Their head is triangular in shape and is connected to the thorax by a slender neck.

They have two short antennae, located on the head, and small mouths hidden beneath their lower part.

Their long, slender, spiny legs allow them to move with remarkable agility. Mantis religiosa also has beautiful wings that are split into four parts.

The forewings are stronger and resemble the shield of a knight, while the hindwings are weaker and thin like a traditional sail.

Benefits Of Using European Mantis

Mantis religiosa is becoming increasingly popular as exotic pets due to their relatively low-maintenance requirements and unique physical features.

They are also excellent scavengers, eating both live food and decaying organic matter.

Thanks to their voracious appetites, they are superbly helpful in controlling pests in a vivarium.

In addition, mantises are relatively docile and do not hurt people or other animals.

They will sequester themselves away during times of high stress or if they feel threatened, giving you optimal control over your environment.

Furthermore, their colors naturally blend in nicely with the decor of many terrariums and paludariums, making them attractive additions to a wide variety of habitats.

Mantis religiosa: A Complete European Mantis Care Guide!

European Mantis Facts

Mantis religiosa is a fascinating exotic pet native to Europe.

They are primarily carnivores whose diet consists of small insects like crickets and flies.

Males live up to six months with females typically living twice as long, and during mating season, female mantises will lay up to 300 eggs.

Their demeanor is slow and peaceful, making them great pets for those who are looking for a low-maintenance insect companion.


The European mantis is an insect native to Europe and can be found elsewhere in the world thanks to its being transported as a stowaway on ships and through the pet trade.

They love to hide away in plants and foliage, making their natural habitat lush forests and gardens.

Their large size and bright colors also provide them with some protection from predators. In some places, Mantis religiosa has been introduced as a form of biological pest control.

This is because, unlike many other predator insects, they often stay in the same place for extended periods of time and catch much of their prey within their home turf.


In the wild, Mantis religiosa are predators that feed on a wide variety of insects, including flies, moths, grasshoppers, cockroaches, and even the occasional spider.

The European mantis actively hunts for prey, using its large eyes to spot prospective food when hunting. 

In terms of water, European mantises have a method of collecting condensation and gathering it to drink from the leaf of the plants.

They then take it into their body and use it to moisten their insides.

In nature, the European mantis obtains enough hydration from the condensation and the food it consumes.

These mantises rarely consume plant matter, unless it is absolutely necessary.

In the wild, getting enough nitrogen in their diet is essential for the healthy growth of eggs and hatchlings.


Mantis religiosa is not known for being particularly friendly or forgiving when it comes to being handled by humans or other animals.

These insects are an ambush predator and they have adapted this aggressive behavior into their relationship with humans.

When held or restrained, the European mantis will usually either become very still or even try to escape.

While the mantis may not be naturally friendly with humans or other animals, they can be trained to tolerate human contact and be more docile around other animals with the right care and patience. 

When it comes to other pets, European mantises should be monitored, especially any small animal, especially birds, since the mantis may view them as possible prey.


European mantis has an average lifespan of six months to one year, with females usually surviving a little longer than males.

In optimal conditions with plenty of food and proper care, the longest they can live is about 4 years.

The life cycle of the European mantis includes many stages: egg, nymph, adult, and death.

The egg stage entails mantis eggs forming in an egg case called an ootheca and hatching several weeks after it’s been laid.

European mantises go through five instars, or molting stages, each lasting about two weeks before they enter the adult stage.

During the adult stage, the mantis focuses on reproducing and living as long as possible before eventually succumbing to natural death.

With the right environmental and dietary conditions, it’s possible to extend their lifespan.


European Mantises are typically solitary animals that come together for mating purposes.

To attract a mate, the male will offer a meal in the form of the female’s favorite food, like cricket or mealworm.

Once connected, the female will sometimes devour her mate from the moment he performs his courtship behavior.

This is known as sexual cannibalism and happens in several species of mantises.

The female Mantis religiosa usually lays her eggs in an ootheca held together with hardened foam-like material.

The eggs are oftentimes glued to trees, rocks stems, and other surfaces to deter predators.

Depending on the species and environmental temperature, the eggs hatch between 4 and 12 weeks after they are laid.

Nymphs, or juvenile mantises, are similar in shape to their parents but much smaller.

Where To Find European Mantises

Finding European mantises is a relatively easy task if you’re in Europe.

You can often find them outdoors, in fields, on leaves, or even stuck on fruits or vegetables.

They can also be purchased from pet stores or online. When purchasing your mantis, look for an active, healthy insect with good color and no physical deformities.

If you plan to buy online, make sure you deal with a reputable seller to ensure the mantis is in good health.

When looking for Mantis religiosa in the wild, be mindful of where you are collecting them. Make sure it is a safe, insect-friendly environment.

You should also be aware of your local laws as some countries may have specific regulations on capturing and owning pet insects.

Once your mantis has been collected, if it’s not already contained, you should place it in a breathable container and keep it in an area that is warm and well-ventilated.

European Mantis Care

When caring for European Mantises, it is vital to provide a suitable habitat that helps maintain humidity and a temperature of 20-27°C.

Feed them small insects and if you plan on breeding your mantis, ensure the female and male are both at least six weeks old.

Keep an eye out for any potential health and illnesses that may affect your pet mantis. Lastly, be aware of any risks that might threaten your pet’s safety.

Tank Requirements

The ideal tank requirements for Mantis religiosa include an enclosure that mimics their natural environment.

The best type of enclosure for mantises is a well-ventilated vivarium, as it provides optimal air circulation and allows the mantis to easily climb.

The pH should be between 6.5-7.5 for medium hardness levels. The ideal temperature range should be between 70 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

The terrarium soil should be kept shallow for the mantis’s safety.

Finally, the use of a timed terrarium light overhead is recommended as it helps to provide the mantis with the right day/night cycle.

What Do European Mantises Eat?

Feeding your European Mantis should be relatively easy as long as you understand the insect’s preferred diet.

Unlike other types of mantises which feed on a variety of small animals, Mantis religiosa prefer insects such as caterpillars, grasshoppers, and roaches.

Here is a list of things you can feed them:

  • Caterpillars
  • Grasshoppers
  • Roaches
  • Fruit Fly larvae (such as Drosophila melanogaster)
  • Mealworms
  • Crickets

To make sure that you are providing your mantis with enough food, it is essential to offer a variety of these items in order to meet their nutritional needs.

Live food should be offered at least 3 times a week.

Make sure to remove any leftover food from the tank or enclosure to avoid it decomposing and becoming a breeding ground for bacteria and parasites.

If you’re looking for a more detailed approach to feeding these critters, be sure to check out my ultimate DIY Praying Mantis food guide. I give a more in-depth explanation of the best foods and my favorite recipe.

What Do Mantises Eat? | Best Mantis Food & Feeding Guide!

Best Tankmates For European Mantises

European mantises are solitary creatures, so it is not recommended to house more than one mantis in a single enclosure.

However, there are some other tankmates that have beneficial qualities that may create a suitable living environment for Mantis religiosa.

Some suitable European mantis tankmates include:

  1. Hermies – Hermies are also known as dwarf land hermit crabs and are best kept in small groups. They are great scavengers who help clean up extra food and debris in the tank while providing a safe and reliable food source for your mantis. 
  2. Beetles – Beetles, especially genus like Mealworms, are also great tank mates for European mantises. Mealworms have a hard exoskeleton that is often preferred over crickets by mantis. They are also slow-moving insects that tend to stay on the ground, so your mantis will have plenty of time to chase them down and enjoy his meal.
  3. Dubia Roaches – Dubia roaches are great live feeders for mantises because they are larger than mealworms and crickets. They are also slower-moving which gives your mantis plenty of time to catch them for dinner. Dubia roaches are also known to be good for maintaining healthier air quality in the tank.

Overall, when choosing the right tankmates for your European mantis, it is important to consider the size, movement, and activity level of your mantis’ tankmates.

Be sure to keep tankmates in appropriate numbers and watch out for any signs of overcrowding, which can lead to an unhealthy environment for your mantis.


Overall, Mantis religiosa is an interesting and easy pet to care for.

A natural hunter, easy to feed, and with a specialized diet, it’s an awesome pet for anyone who loves to observe nature.

By providing the right environment for your European mantis, you can expect an interesting species to share your home and to be a fascinating source of entertainment as well.

Good luck with your pet mantis!

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, European mantises can be kept as pets. They require a vivarium large enough to give them plenty of room to climb and roam, as well as plants and other features to hide in and climb up. They should be fed crickets, moths, fruit flies, and other small food sources several times a week. They also need access to fresh water, as well as appropriate levels of humidity in their enclosure.

Mantis religiosa can be found in tropical and temperate regions around the world.

The Chinese mantis is usually larger in size and has a thicker body, while the European mantis is typically smaller and slender.

Yes, they can technically fly even though they rarely do.

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