Fun Praying Mantis Facts for Kids

Praying Mantis Facts for Kids

  • A praying mantis is in the mantid or mantidae family.
  • They are a group of large slow-moving insects.
  • There are 1,800 different species of mantids /mantidaes that live around the world.
  • Praying mantises make up a small group in this species.
  • They get their name from the way that their front legs are bent together in an angle that makes them look like they are praying.
  • Praying Mantis live in a large range of habitats. They can be found in rainforests, deserts, grasslands and meadows.  You many even find one in your backyard.
  • Praying Mantis are masters of disguise. They are very well camouflaged and often mistaken for leaves or tree branches.
  • Green is the most common color for a praying mantis however, they can also be brown.
  • There is also a species of mantis called flower mantises, they blend in and look like flowers.
  • Praying mantis have long necks with triangle shaped heads. They can turn their hears 180 degrees, that is a half-circle!
  • Praying mantis have 5 senses like people. They have the senses of sight, taste, touch and smell.
  • They have 5 eyes. Two large eyes on the sides of their heads and three smaller eyes in the middle.
  • They have excellent vision and can see in 3D.
  • Praying mantis do not hear as well as they can see. They have one ear that is in the middle of their abdomen.
  • They have 6 legs and 2 antennae.
  • Praying mantis have a lifespan of 1 year.
  • They grow usually between 1 inch to 6 inches long.
  • Most adults have wings. Only males can fly.
  • Praying mantis are carnivores. They eat spiders, grasshoppers, frogs, lizards, small birds, crickets, flies, other small insects and even other praying mantis.
  • Usually when they capture their prey they will eat the brains first.
  • During mating or right after mating many females will bites the heads off the males. They will sometimes eat all them.
  • Praying mantis will go through 3 stages of life egg, nymph then adult.
  • After mating, females will lay up to 400 eggs.
  • Small species of mantis will take 3-4 weeks to hatch, larger species will take 4-6 weeks.
  • Predators include frogs, bats, monkeys, snakes, large birds and spiders.

Fun Praying Mantis Facts

  • Praying mantis were believed to have super powers in Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and in the Assyrian Empire.
  • Due to their praying posture, praying mantis were considered a god in Southern African Khoi and San tradition.  The word mantis in Afrikaans is Hottentotsgot meaning “god of the Khoi”
  • Some martial arts develop in China have movements based on praying mantis.
  • Close relatives to the praying mantis are termites and cockroaches.
  • Praying mantis are popular insect pets.