How Long Can a Praying Mantis Live Without Food?

by Derrick | Last Updated: September 15, 2021


The praying mantis is an insect that can be found all over the world. How long can a praying mantis live without food? This question has been asked many times but never answered definitively. If you are interested in how long they can survive before death occurs, read on to find out more!

How Long Can Praying Mantis Live Without Food?

Praying mantis usually lives a very brief life. How long can a praying mantis live without food? Praying Mantis can last about two weeks without food, which is much shorter than many other insects. 

It’s believed that the length of their life correlates with how much they eat in one day; if they don’t eat much, it follows that they won’t survive for very long at all.

Numerous factors will determine exactly how long a praying mantis can survive without food, such as whether they are wild or kept as a pet, what time of the year it is, whether they have water, and how long it has been since they last ate.

Types Of Food That Are Best For A Praying Mantis

The diet of the praying mantis is very diverse. The most common prey items include:


Grasshopper nymphs



Monarch Butterflies

Insect larvae



Bird eggs

Other insects

They also eat small vertebrates such as frogs, lizards, snakes, mice, rats, birds, fish, and even some invertebrate species like worms.

Surprisingly they are also known even to consume hummingbirds.

If you are keeping a praying mantis in captivity for a pet, feeding it a natural diet is best for the long-term health of the mantis.

How Long Can a Praying Mantis Live Without Water?

It’s difficult to know how long a praying mantis can survive without water. The reason is that a slew of other variables will influence it.

A praying mantis kept at a higher temperature, for example, will dehydrate sooner than one kept at a lower temperature, just as we humans need more water when we are in more extreme temperatures.

In addition, praying mantis may absorb water from their food, so the feeding frequency and the type of food they are consuming can also be of impact.

One thing is for sure if they do not have food and water, they will not last very long, maybe five days or so.

Lifespan Of A Praying Mantis

Praying mantis will live approximately one year.

This will also vary depending on several factors, such as the praying mantis’s conditions and whether the praying mantis is wild or is kept as a pet. For example, in the wild, the praying mantis may have natural predators hunting them, significantly reducing their lifespan, whereas you remove that variable when kept as pets.

Even the best cared for praying mantis may have a shorter life span; it isn’t always something you may have done wrong. Like any other living creature, things can go wrong that make certain praying mantis less healthy than others.

Care Tips To Maximize Lifespan

Mantids should be kept in their own tank; this ensures there is no cannibalism between two mantids. Each praying mantis only requires a small tank, so this generally isn’t a huge issue given the one mantid one tank rule.

Generally, a tank should be at least twice as wide and three times as tall as the mantid itself, but not much larger than that. If the tank is too big, the mantid will have difficulty finding its insect food sources. A 12×12 inch tank is a good size for most praying mantises. 

The water in the tank should be clean, with no debris or algae floating around. It’s best to use distilled water because it has fewer minerals than tap water does. Distilled water also doesn’t contain chlorine which can pet insects. The tanks need to be cleaned out regularly so they don’t become breeding grounds for bacteria. Cleaning your tank once every two weeks is sufficient.

It is generally a best practice to remove any food that the mantid doesn’t consume from the tank fairly regularly as it could potentially put stress on the mantid; minimizing stress is the key to keeping the mantid happy.


In summary, Mantids are fascinating creatures that require proper care and attention. They are easy to keep and provide hours of entertainment. However, like all animals, mantids must be cared for properly to ensure longevity. 

Following these simple steps will help maximize the lifespan of your mantid, with minimal extra work on your part.


Wikipedia – Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis Diet

Praying Mantis Housing In Captivity