If you are considering adopting a praying mantis as a pet, you may have an interest in knowing whether the praying mantises spit (and whether their spit is harmful). There are also those who, out of pure curiosity, may want to know whether praying mantises spit. This article has the answer.
Do praying mantis spit? No, praying mantis don’t spit. They do have saliva in their mouths, for the purpose of aiding in food digestion. But they don’t spit any form of venom while defending themselves or while hunting.
There are, however, widespread and long-held myths that praying mantis spit, and that their spit is harmful. Some of these myths go as far as asserting that praying mantis spit can make you blind!
Against that background, you find many people asking questions like, praying mantis do they spit? And if yes, do praying mantis spit hurt you? Or is praying mantis spit dangerous?
In the same context, you also find people wondering, just how dangerous is a praying mantis’s spit? Is the Praying Mantis spit poisonous? Or will you go blind if a praying mantis spits in your eye?
That aspect of the praying mantis’ spit having potential to make you blind is one that causes people great anxiety. So they first endeavor to establish, does a praying mantis spit in your eye?
Then right after that (do praying mantis spit in your eye) question, comes the one on blinding potential. So you find someone asking, can praying mantis make you blind?
More specifically, they seek to establish, can praying mantis spit blind you?
Given all those concerns, perhaps the best place to start would be by finding out whether praying mantis have the ability to spit at all.
Are Praying Mantis Able To Spit?
Praying mantis are not able to spit.
Yes, they do have saliva in their mouths. But the saliva is for the purpose of digesting food. It is not venomous. They don’t use it for defensive or hunting purposes.
Sometimes, people mistake walking stick bugs with the praying mantis. The walking stick vs praying mantis distinction can be admittedly rather hard to make for some.
Now it happens that the walking stick bug is indeed able to spit a substance that can irritate people’s eyes. But the praying mantis doesn’t have this ability.
So the walking stick bug spit phenomenon is sometimes misattributed to praying mantis.
Even if you come across a praying mantis spitting video, chances are that it won’t be authentic. It may be a walking stick bug spitting video, which is misattributed to a praying mantis.
It is important to appreciate that most people have very scant knowledge of praying mantis. This is why you sometimes even find folks posing questions as simple as, do praying mantis lay eggs?
Not many even have awareness about the praying mantis lifespan and other such things.
Therefore it is not surprising that these myths about praying mantis spitting poison are so widespread.
What holds true, however, is the fact that praying mantis are not able to spit.
How Do Praying Mantis Defend Themselves?
So far, we have established that praying mantis are not able to spit venom of any kind. That is what we saw, while answering the does praying mantis spit question.
This being the case, we then need to ask themselves how the praying mantis are able to defend themselves. That is because most organisms in the animal kingdom have the ability to defend themselves, one way or the other.
So, how do praying mantises defend themselves?
The answer is that the praying mantises defend themselves using their front legs as well as their mouths.
Using their front legs, for instance, they are able to ‘pinch’ humans who mishandle them. This pinch is what many people refer to as a praying mantis bite. But it is technically not a bite, but a pinch: using the front legs.
Do Praying Mantis Spit Acid?
Some of the people who pose the question on whether praying mantis spit are specifically interested in knowing whether the praying mantis spit acid.
As we have seen though, praying mantis don’t spit at all. So they don’t spit acid.
If you mishandle a praying mantis, the worst it may do is pinch you using its front legs. But it won’t spit acid – into your eyes or elsewhere.
It is walking stick bugs that spit an acid-like substance (which is irritating) to the eyes of people mishandling them.
Do Praying Mantis Spit Poison?
In asking whether praying mantis spit, some people are specifically eager to know whether the praying mantis spit poison.
So, do praying mantis have spit that is venomous? Does praying mantis spit poison? Thankfully, the answer is ‘no’. Praying mantis don’t spit.
Even the saliva that is in their mouths (for food digestion purposes) is not venomous at all.
So praying mantis don’t spit poison.
Even when hunting for prey, the praying mantises focus more on mechanical (rather than chemical) killing. So they kill their prey using their front legs and mouths. Not by using any sort of venom.
Do Praying Mantis Spit Tobacco?
Praying mantises don’t spit tobacco. In fact, they don’t spit at all.
This notion – that praying mantis spit tobacco – probably comes in when people mistake walking stick bugs for praying mantis.
The walking stick bugs are able to spit some irritating substance. If it gets into one’s eyes, they sure feel as if tobacco has been placed there: due to the irritation.
Even then, the substance that the walking stick bugs spit is not tobacco.
As for the praying mantis, they don’t spit tobacco – or anything at all.
What Is The White Stuff That Comes Out Of A Praying Mantis?
The white stuff that comes out of a praying mantis may be the egg case – which is white and foamy – and which is formally known as ootheca.
So that white stuff is an egg case, inside which are the praying mantis’ eggs. It is certainly not some sort of venom.
Do Praying Mantis Bite?
Having established that praying mantis don’t spit poison, the question on how they deal with people who mishandle them persists.
Firstly, we need to ask ourselves, do praying mantis attack humans? Or more specifically, do praying mantis bite?
The truth is that praying mantis do ‘pinch’ people who mishandle them, using their front legs. So, in that sense, they do ‘bite’.
As for praying mantises attacking people, that is not common.
If there is a human-praying mantis conflict, it is usually the human who is the aggressor. Normally, it will be a situation in which a person mishandles the praying mantis.
So the praying mantis senses that its life is in danger. And to defend itself, it pinches the aggressor, using its front legs.
Usually, a praying mantis won’t go out deliberately seeking people to attack. But if someone happens to mishandle it in a threatening manner, the praying mantis may respond by pinching that person.
What the praying mantis uses for this purpose (of pinching) is its front legs. Those are quite powerful.
When the praying mantis pinches a person, it is purely a mechanical affair. So the goal is to make the person feel pain. But there is no injection of venom at any stage.
What Happens If A Praying Mantis Bites You?
Firstly, we do have to mention that what a praying mantis does is, strictly speaking, not biting. Rather, what a praying mantis does is ‘pinching’, using its front legs.
Now the main thing that you will experience if a praying mantis ‘bites’ you is pain. The praying mantis’ front legs are quite powerful. If it is able to deliver a good pinch, then you will certainly feel it.
There are even cases in which the praying mantis pinch has been known to cause some bleeding.
Thankfully though, there is absolutely no venom that the praying mantis injects when it bites/pinches you. So all you have to deal with is the pain from the pinch, and very little bleeding (if any).
Most experts recommend that you just wash the area in which the praying mantis pinched you.
In due course, the pain from the praying mantis pinch should subside. The bleeding should cease shortly after the pinch: it is never serious bleeding.
So it is the pain that may persist for a few minutes, before it too subsides.
Therefore the main thing to do if a praying mantis ‘bites’ you is wash the bitten area.
Final Verdict – Do Praying Mantis Spit
Praying mantises don’t spit.
There are widespread and long-held myths about praying mantis spitting venomous substances. Those are venomous substances that allegedly can make one go blind.
The truth of the matter is that the praying mantis can’t spit. In a praying mantis’ mouth, there is saliva. But this saliva is for food digestion purposes, not for use as a venom.
Even in the course of its hunting, the praying mantis never resorts to spitting venomous substances. It simply kills its prey using its front legs and mouth.
In case you mishandle a praying mantis though, it may pinch you using its front legs. So this is a possibility. But when it pinches you, it doesn’t inject any sort of venom. It is a simple pinch, meant to inflict pain.
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