- Scientific Name: Tenodera Sinensis
- Native in: Originally China, Japan, and Korea. Can now be found in many Asian countries and North America
- Average Size as an Adult: Females 4.3 in (approx. 11cm), males slightly smaller
- Diet: Carnivorous, undemanding. Possible diet includes fruit flies, flies, roaches, grasshoppers, moths, bees, wasps, mealworms, crickets, and even amphibians, reptiles, or small mammals
- Lifespan: 7-12 months. Longer in captivity.
- Temperature: Around 75° F (approx. 24° C)
- Humidity: 50% – 60%
- Overall difficulty rating: Easy
The Tenodera Sinensis is commonly referred to as “Chinese Mantis” due to its original native country. Even though Tenodera Sinensis can be found in many Asian countries as well as North America, it was originally only native to China, Japan, and Korea.
The species is known to be one of the largest praying mantis species with females growing larger than 4.3 in (approx. 11cm). It is one of the most popular and common mantis species in North America and can be found in trees and bushes close to rivers, as well as fields, and even in parks and gardens.
The adults are slim, and rather large compared to other praying mantis species, and the colors can vary from all green to brown with a green edge on the wings. It is important to note that the praying mantis develops their wings after the last molt.
They are rather popular pets among praying mantis enthusiasts and the young nymphs and oothecae with the eggs are widely available online.
Just like all praying mantis species, Tenodera Sinensis is carnivorous. It feeds on all kinds of insects as well as smaller amphibians, reptiles, and even small mammals. The younger nymphs feed on insects such as fruit flies, crickets, moths, grasshoppers, and mealworms. If you want to feed your pet praying mantis, always make sure that the praying mantis is already big enough for the insect you want to feed. The worst-case scenario is that the feeder insect harms or kills your pet.
Praying mantis do not eat fruits, vegetables, or dead bugs. They only eat whatever they catch, and only live insects and animals.
It is important to mention that a praying mantis is a loner and as it grows, the chances for cannibalism also grow. If several praying mantises have to be kept together, they should be offered enough space and enough food to avoid that kind of behavior.
When keeping a Tenodera Sinensis, keep in mind that it is a rather large species. Even though the nymphs are tiny, they will grow to an impressive size. You can use plastic buckets or glass jars with mesh lids, or acquire nylon mesh insect boxes. The cage should be at least 3 times the height and twice the length of your pet. The height is very important because praying mantis molt while dangling from the ceiling. If they hit the floor during their molting process, they might die.
Don’t go too crazy with the container size because the bigger the cage, the more difficult it might get for the praying mantis to find the food you provide.
The Tenodera Sinensis does best at an average temperature of around 75° F (approx. 24° C) and should not be lower than 70° F (approx. 21° C) for a longer time period.
The Tenodera Sinensis enjoys a “normal” humidity of around 50% – 60%. The cage should still be misted on a daily basis to make sure that the humidity is high enough for their molting procedure. If the humidity is too low while praying mantis molt, they might get stuck in the dries up skin and die during that process.
In comparison: The average humidity inside a house is usually between 30% and 60% depending on the time of the year and of course the country and climate zone.
The Tenodera Sinensis is one of the largest praying mantis species and comes in different shades of green and brown. They blend perfectly into their surrounding which makes them hard to find even though they are up to 4.3 inches (11 cm) big. With its huge body, long legs, triangular head, and large eyes on the left and right, the Tenodera Sinensis has a very alien-like appearance which makes it so fascinating.
Like all praying mantis species, the Tenodera Sinensis develops by molting several times. The females have one extra molt compared to the males. They reach adulthood after approximately 4 months and 7 molts on average. The females usually live another 6 to 8 months, while the males only live for 2 to 3 months as adults. This makes sense as the females have the “duty” to lay their eggs and thereby ensure the survival of the species while the male has no further task after mating with the female.
After the last molt, the females and males reach adulthood and a few weeks later, they are ready to mate. Mating is a challenging process for the males, as they might end up as snacks for the females after, or in some cases even during the mating process.
Since the females are much larger in size, females and males can easily be distinguished.
Once the male successfully approached the female without being attacked and managed to take the leap on the female’s back, they mate. If the female had enough to eat before mating, she might let the male leave peacefully.
The female will be able to lay eggs for the rest of her life, as long as she finds enough food to give her the energy, she needs to create the oothecae. Oothecae are protective egg cases in form of foam that is soft when it’s fresh and will dry and harden quickly, once it is outside of the female’s body. A female Tenodera Sinensis can lay between 3 to 7 oothecae with 30 to 100 eggs in each one of them. In captivity, the females might lay even more oothecae. The hard foam will protect the eggs during winter until the baby praying mantis hatch in spring.
If the mating was not successful, or no partner was found, the female will still lay oothecae with eggs inside. But the eggs are not fertilized and unfertilized eggs of the Tenodera Sinensis will not hatch.
The oothecae have the best chance to hatch with a steady temperature between 70° F and 86° F (21 ° C – 30° C) and a humidity of around 70%. Make sure to prevent any mold.
Overall Difficulty Rating
The Tenodera Sinensis is non-poisonous, and usually rather calm and easy to care for. This species is a popular pet in the praying mantis community and is widely available. Temperature and humidity levels are easy to provide and if they are native in your area, they can even be kept in the house on a plant without a cage.
The overall difficulty level for this species is “easy”.
Here is an article on whether praying mantis can be kept as pets: https://animal-knowledge.com/can-you-keep-praying-mantis-as-a-pet/
Here you can find the answer to your question if praying mantis make good pets: https://animal-knowledge.com/are-praying-mantis-good-pets/
Here is a list of the best beginner praying mantis species: https://animal-knowledge.com/what-are-good-beginner-praying-mantis-species/
Lisa is one of the two founders of Animal-Knowledge. She has been very interested in animals and insects from a very young age and has owned different kinds of pets such as snails, ants, fish, turtles, mice, rats, hamsters, rabbits, a dog, … you get the idea 🙂