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daughter wants a praying mantis - don't suppose anyone keeps bugs?

(12 Posts)
gussiegrips Thu 13-Feb-14 21:09:50

My daughter is lovely, if a bit peculiar.

She loves her pets, particularly the tortoise and nuisance budgie. But, her passion is bugs. The bigger, the better.

She's turning 10, and is asking/begging for a praying mantis.

Doesn't seem to be hard to keep, you just chuck fruit flies or crickets their way and give them a skoosh of water.

Anyone kept insects as "pets"?

Ugh.

IronOrchid Thu 13-Feb-14 21:31:19

I've had two mantids, both of the flower variety (pretty but not very hardy!).

The giant praying mantis is a robust starter bug - you need tall, well ventilated accommodation (at least three times the length of the bug so the bug can shed it's skin comfortably and grow.

Mist the accommodation every few days (no water bowls - they'll drown) and yes, crickets are good, although they'll need to be an appropriate size (not too big). Dangling a mealworm with tweezers is a good way of feeding when the mantis is immature.

You'll need some foliage (plastic leaves will do) in the accommodation too for the bug to rest on/from.

Mantis' are fun to feed and they're quite reactive (will turn their head to follow movement of your hand, etc.). They do need gentle handling though. Let me know if you need more info.

Edenviolet Thu 13-Feb-14 21:35:58

I had stick insects when I was younger. Started with 2 ended up with about 50000. They laid about 300 eggs a moth and I sold the babies to a pet shop for 20p each.

Then my mum OT fed. Up of them escaping and let them go in the garden, I was only 11 and so upset.

They were great pets I assume very similar to praying mantis

gussiegrips Thu 13-Feb-14 21:45:25

This is great!

Where did you source the insects from, Orchid?

I've found a mantid forum, but, it's all in latin. I've found someone on ebay with some for sale, but, he can't guarantee they'll be green, hey're not the giant mantis type.

She'd be happy with a brown one, but, the green ones look less, well, bug like.

We've ordered a tank thing from an online shop, it's got ventilation and netting to let it dangle from the roof and stop flies getting out.

She's unspeakably excited about it. Sometimes I wonder whether she's my spawn at all...

gussiegrips Thu 13-Feb-14 21:45:55

hedgehog - I'm shuddering at the thought of 5000 mantises.

<shiver>

IronOrchid Thu 13-Feb-14 22:05:53

Your daughter sounds a girl after my own heart!

The accommodation you have sounds ideal. I got my orchid and chinese flower mantids from a local exotic pet shop (Cardiff). Have only ever bought stick insects online, and they didn't fare too well (hatchlings that didn't survive the first shed). Is they any chance you've a specialised pet store anywhere nearby?

Can't link as on crappy phone, but Google 'reptile forum mantis care sheet' and it should turn up good advice. Reptile Forum has lots of info on invertebrates as pets in general (including my favourite, the Madagasacan hissing cockroach - great pets!) Hope that helps!

Edenviolet Thu 13-Feb-14 22:07:36

I'm not sure if they breed as well as stick insects! Thought I'd mention it just in case though.

ApocalypticBlackHorseman Thu 13-Feb-14 22:12:27

Almost reluctant to share this one, but today I was talking to somebody who had been bitten by their praying mantis, apparently it is rare but really, really hurts.

drinkyourmilk Thu 13-Feb-14 22:16:38

Mantids are awesome. We've had two.

On a different note, if she likes big bugs what about hissing roaches. Great pets and great to handle, unlike Mantids which are better left alone ime.

gussiegrips Thu 13-Feb-14 22:21:59

Am staggered so many of you know about these things!

Yep, I did know they can bite, and, yep, I've heard it's sore - their jaws are serrated so I guess that's gotta nip a bit.

They're not really handle-able beasties. To be fair to her, she's done a heap of research into how to keep them. So, I can't pull the wool over her eyes, worse luck "oh, no, they are viscious things" "that's ok, you use tweezers to put crickets in and you only handle them once they've been fed". "Oh"

Cockroaches - double ugh. Do they, you know, escape?

she's got a notion for "jewel beetles". Which do look kind of pretty.

But, her heart's with the mantids.

drinkyourmilk Thu 13-Feb-14 22:33:39

Had roaches for 4 years and no escapees yet. Jewel beetles are beautiful. On my to get list. Are you in the SW? There's a show I go to each year at Kempton park near Richmond. She would love it!

gussiegrips Fri 14-Feb-14 10:52:45

Nope, we're in Scotland. There's a good exotics shop about an hour away from us. Run by geeks, ideal.

A bug SHOW? That's a thing? Am away to google, she'd be apoplectic over that!

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