Praying mantis are named after the unusual way in which their legs are positioned. There are more than 2000 species, and it is the only insect that can rotate its neck 180 degrees. A praying mantis can live up to a year, but it could damage its leg in a fight, fall or if handled incorrectly. If it is injured, make sure you are caring for it in the right way.
A praying mantis needs to be housed correctly to ensure that it is has the best habitat for survival. Check that the tank it is housed in is heated to between 70 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the tank out of direct sunlight, and at night only use a black or infrared light if necessary for observation. You could worsen an eye injury by shining a bright light at it. Do not keep praying mantis together because they eat each other. If the injury was brought on by a fight, immediately separate the mantis to avoid further conflict.
Care for the praying mantis by providing it with a protein-rich diet. Mantis eat insects such as mealworms, roaches, fruit files and crickets. But make sure that the insect is no bigger than half the size of the mantis' head. If the praying mantis does not eat the insect then remove it. Crickets can harm juveniles and this will make a sustained injury worse. It could die if it is not able to defend itself.
Whenever you attend to your praying mantis, always wash your hands first. You may have come into contact with chemicals which could be transferred to the animal. It is important for the mantis' water to be changed at least once a day when it is healthy, so do it at least twice if it is injured. This will ensure it is receiving a fresh, uncontaminated supply. Finally, clean the tank at least twice a week. If the mantis' is injured it will be more sensitive so keep it in a clean environment.
Praying mantis' most common injury is damage to the limbs obtained through falls. You will notice a deformity in its leg position or bleeding if it is suffering from this. You can help the praying mantis by coating the affected area with fingernail hardener. If it is suffering from dehydration it may be shedding, lethargic or shriveled. It is best to consult an exotic vet in this instance and continue to safeguard its environment.
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Verity Jones is an English literature graduate who has been writing for over five years. Her work has been featured in local publications, national parenting magazines and online portals such as You and Your Family, and Mum Plus One. Jones holds a qualification in interior design.