A Closer Look At Praying Mantises And Their Bites

Table of Contents

A unique insect: The praying mantis

Praying mantises are truly one-of-a-kind insects, easily recognized by their upright posture and folded prayer-like front legs. But there’s so much more to these creatures than meets the eye.


They have two bulging eyes that give them a wide field of vision and three smaller eyes located in the middle of their forehead. Did you know that some mantises can even turn their heads a full 180 degrees? This is pretty rare in the insect world!

Do praying mantises bite humans?

There’s a common myth that praying mantises are dangerous to humans. The myths surrounding them likely originate from their appearance alone – their large, bulbous eyes, triangular heads, and spiny raptorial forelegs give them a formidable look. Like a tiny alien monster ready to strike. Combine that frightening facade with their carnivorous appetite for live prey, and it solidifies their menacing reputation. However, it’s critical to separate fact from fiction regarding mantis behavior. While they can bite if they feel threatened, their bites are not harmful to us. They don’t have venom, and their jaws are not strong enough to break human skin. So, if you ever encounter a praying mantis, there’s no need to be scared!

Fotografia Mantiz, Credit: Wikimedia/Grecia Sosa

Anatomy of a praying mantis bite

Let’s delve into what makes a praying mantis bite so special. These insects have a unique set of mouthparts designed for chewing and biting. Their strong jaws, or mandibles , work like scissors, slicing through their prey with ease. This is important for their survival, as mantises are predators, relying primarily on their bite to capture and consume their food.

Asian green mantis, Credit: Wikimedia/Kramthenik27

The diet of a praying mantis

So, what’s on the menu for a praying mantis? These critters are not picky eaters. They feast on insects, including flies, crickets, and other mantises! Praying mantises are ambush predators , meaning they stay very still and wait for their prey to come close. Then, in a lightning-fast move, they strike with their powerful front legs and grab their meal.

Encountering a praying mantis

If you’re lucky enough to spot a praying mantis, there are a few things to remember. First, admire them from a distance. While they’re not dangerous, they can get stressed if handled too much. If you want to observe them up close, move slowly and be respectful. Remember, these fascinating creatures are an essential part of our ecosystem , so it’s our job to protect and appreciate them.


In conclusion, the praying mantis is a fascinating and unique insect with some cool features and a lot to learn and admire about them. So, although the praying mantis may look like a creature not to be crossed, humans stand entirely outside these carnivores’ sphere of interest regarding food sources or self-defense. We can rest easy knowing that mantises see us as curiosity rather than lunch. With proper care and respect for their space, we can safely observe and appreciate one of nature’s most skillful (and benign to us) insect predators in action!


Mandibles – Strong jaw-like structures used for biting and chewing in insects.


Ambush Predators – Animals that capture prey by remaining motionless and suddenly attacking when the prey is close.


Ecosystem – A community of living organisms and their physical environment interacting as a system.


Copyright @smorescience. All rights reserved. Do not copy, cite, publish, or distribute this content without permission.

Join 20,000+ parents and educators
To get the FREE science newsletter in your inbox!