Do Praying Mantis Eat Worms? 7 Unique Worms To Feed

Owners of pet praying mantises often find themselves wondering whether or not to feed them on worms. This article addresses that issue fully.

Do praying mantis eat worms? Yes, praying mantis do eat worms. Most of the common worms are safe and quite nutritious for the praying mantises. Among the specific types of worms that praying mantises can eat are mealworms, silkworms, earthworms, superworms and waxworms.

Granted, much of a praying mantis’ diet is made up of insects. This leads to many people wondering, do praying mantis eat anything other than insects? 

That is the context within which people end up considering worms as food for pet praying mantises.

Do praying mantis eat worms
Do Praying Mantis Eat Worms?


Are Worms Safe For Praying Mantises?

As long as the worms are clean and free of parasites, they are safe for praying mantises.

Many people who keep pet praying mantises routinely give them worms to eat, and the mantises don’t suffer any harm on account of that. This means that the worms are safe for praying mantises to eat.

Of course, if the worms in question are alive, and they are much bigger than the praying mantis, there can be problems. They may end up injuring or even killing the praying mantis as it tries to prey on them. 

Then again, the praying mantis will instinctively avoid trying to feed on live worms that are big enough to harm it…

On another note, as we alluded earlier, if the worms happen to be infested with parasites, they can be harmful to praying mantis. In that regard, horsehair worms (which are sometimes also referred to as gordian worms) can be particularly harmful to mantises.

All in all, clean and parasite-free worms are safe for praying mantises to eat.


Are Worms Beneficial For Praying Mantises?

Worms are nutritionally beneficial for praying mantises. The actual nutritional value varies from one type of worm to another. Generally though, the worms tend to be decent sources of fat, protein and minerals like zinc as well as iron.

At this point, one may then ask, can I feed my praying mantis worms exclusively? And the answer would be that this is not advisable, notwithstanding the worms’ nutritional value.

An ideal diet for the praying mantis is one that is varied – with items like crickets, fruit flies, grasshoppers and so on.

That sort of varied diet ensures that the mantis gets all the nutrients it needs. Thus worms should only be one component of the praying mantis’ diet. But you should avoid getting to a point where you feed your mantis exclusively on worms.


Do Praying Mantis Eat Worms?

Praying mantis do eat worms. Both in the wild and in captivity, worms form an integral part of the praying mantis’ diet.

If you place a worm in front of a praying mantis, the mantis will usually eventually eat it. That is as long as what you offer is a live worm. 

If it is a dead worm, the mantis will have no business with it. So this only goes to show that praying mantises do eat worms.

As we have noted, the worms are safe and nutritionally beneficial for the praying mantis. That is as provided the worms are clean and parasite-free.

Therefore if you were wondering, what can I feed my praying mantis, then worms would be one of the items to consider offering.


Do Praying Mantis Eat Worms In The Wild?

Praying mantis do eat worms in the wild. Indeed, the worms are among the foods that praying mantises thrive on in the wild.

While a wild mantis is out and about hunting for food, it tends to be on the lookout for both insects and worms (as well as other types of prey, including the smaller birds). 

Therefore praying mantises do eat worms in the wild. And this means that eating worms is a natural thing for praying mantises. 

The inference is that owners of pet mantises shouldn’t have hang ups about offering them worms as food.


Do Praying Mantis Like Worms?

Most praying mantises don’t really seem to like eating worms. There are two ways in which we get to know that the mantises don’t really have a liking for worms.

Firstly, when live worms are made available to praying mantises, the mantises tend to hesitate before starting to eat them. From that fact, we may infer that the praying mantises don’t really like the worms.

Secondly, when mantises are offered the choice between worms and certain other types of food (like insects for instance), they will tend to go for the other types of foods. In most cases, they seem to prefer faster moving/agile prey to worms.

But there can of course be some variations in food preferences from one mantis to another. Generally though, if one asks, do all praying mantis have worms as their preferred food, the answer would likely be no.

Most mantises don’t seem to like eating worms, though they can still devour them if they have nothing else to eat.


How Do Praying Mantises Eat Worms?

Praying mantises have mandibles through which they eat their food – including the worms in question here. The worms have to be alive, for them to be eaten by the praying mantis. A praying mantis won’t eat a dead worm.

The praying mantis hunts for the worms by way of ambushing them. 

Once a worm falls into the praying mantis’ ambush, the mantis proceeds to paralyze it through physical means. That is because the mantis has no venom. 

Once the worm is paralyzed, the mantis devours it alive, using its powerful mandible.

In captivity, praying mantises are typically fed on worms using tweezers. 

Thus one grasps the worm using a pair of tweezers. The next step is to place the worm, hence grasped, in front of the mantis. 

The mantid is then able to recognize the worm as food – provided the worm is alive. Thereafter the mantis eats it up.


Do All Praying Mantis Eat Worms?

Pretty much all praying mantises have the ability to eat worms. There are variations in dietary preferences from one praying mantis to another. But in terms of the basic ability to eat worms, all praying mantises seem to have it.

At this point, one may ask, do baby praying mantis eat worms? And the answer is yes – provided the worms are small enough for the baby mantises to tackle.

In the domestic setting, if a baby mantis is tong-fed on live worms, it will tend to relish them.


Which Types Of Worms Praying Mantises Eat?

There are many types of worms – ranging from wax worms to earthworms, mealworms and onto tomato worms. There are also bagworms. 

And on another note, the worms can either be alive or dead. 

Which of these types of worms do praying mantises eat? Let’s find out.


Do Praying Mantis Eat Live Worms?

Praying mantis do eat live worms. In fact, the mantises will only eat worms if the worms are alive.

Thus if you have to offer your pet mantis worms, you better be sure that the worms are alive.


Do Praying Mantis Eat Dead Worms?

Praying mantis don’t eat dead worms. Generally, mantises don’t take dead prey.

Therefore if you offer your pet mantis dead worms, they are likely to be rejected outright.


Do Praying Mantis Eat Wax Worms?

Praying mantis are capable of eating wax worms. The wax worms are safe and quite nutritious for mantises.

Therefore feeding your mantis on wax worms is a good idea.


Do Praying Mantis Eat Earthworms?

Earthworms are among the most easily available types of worms in most places globally. The question then arises: can praying mantis eat earthworms? And as it turns out, the answer is ‘yes’.

When praying mantis encounter earthworms, they do feed on them. As such, the earthworms are a suitable food for the praying mantises – though the earthworms’ nutritional value is rather modest.


Do Praying Mantis Eat Mealworms?

Mealworms tend to be plentiful in stores that sell pet foods. Against this background, many praying mantis pet owners consider buying mealworms for them. 

But can praying mantis eat mealworms? Can you feed a praying mantis mealworms? The answer is ‘yes’.

Praying mantises are capable of eating mealworms. If you get hold of a mealworm using tweezers and place it in front of a praying mantis, the mantis will usually take note of it and start eating it. 

Thus mealworms are a suitable food for praying mantises.


Do Praying Mantis Eat Tomato Worms?

Tomato worms, which are also referred to as hornworms, at times look like the sort of thing that praying mantises would relish eating. 

But what is the real position with regard to praying mantises eating tomato worms/hornworms? Do praying mantis eat hornworms? Or, to put it more directly, will a praying mantis eat a horn worm when the latter is offered to it as food?

The true position is that praying mantis are capable of eating tomato worms/hornworms. To be sure, such worms may not be the praying mantis’ favorite foods. 

But mantises do certainly feed on them when they encounter them – especially if they happen to be hungry.

This means that praying mantis can help in the biological control of tomato worms within gardens where tomatoes are grown.


Do Praying Mantis Eat Bagworms?

Praying mantises are capable of eating bagworms. In the wild, bagworms that happen to cross the path of hunting praying mantises often get devoured. 

And in captivity, pet praying mantises that are offered bagworms do eat them.

Thus if you happen to find live bagworms, you can make them available to your pet mantis as food.


How Much Worms Can Praying Mantises Eat?

This depends on factors like the size of the praying mantis in question, as well as the type and size of worms under consideration. 

Owners of pet mantises are typically advised to feed them on food that is “equivalent to 2 insects” every other day. You may thus need to give an amount of worm flesh which is equivalent to that.


How Often Do Praying Mantis Eat Worms?

Praying mantises should ideally only eat worms once in a while. It is insects that should form the staple of their diets, with worms only serving as occasional treats.

It is therefore best to only offer a pet praying mantis worms like once per week at most.


Final verdict

Praying mantis are capable of eating worms. As long as the worms in question are clean and free of parasites, they are safe for the praying mantis. 

From the worms, the mantis can get many nutrients, ranging from proteins to fats and onto minerals such as iron and zinc.

The worms offered to the praying mantis have to be alive. Praying mantises won’t eat dead worms, or any other form of dead prey for that matter.

To feed a pet praying mantis on a worm, you typically need to use a pair of tweezers. Once you grasp the (live) worm with the tweezers and place it before the praying mantis, the mantis will recognize it as food and proceed to lap it up.

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The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, food recommendation, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or for pet food related questions.

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