Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Our First Egg Case Has Hatched!

I'm so excited! I had to come over and post about our new critters. The first egg case laid by our praying mantis, Scipio, hatched! If you missed hearing about her, you can read my posts here and here. Emma saw the babies in the jar while we were making lunch. There are lots of them, and we've separated out several to put in their own jars. Because they are carnivorous, they will most likely eat each other if we leave them all in the same container.

The tricky part is getting them into something that will contain them. They're so small, they could easily get out of the lid we had on Scipio's tank. We kept the egg case in a quart-zied mason jar, with a piece of nylon panty hose over the top. Today, we pulled out all my jam and pint-sized canning jars, put some coconut bedding in them, small sticks for climbing, and then put the lids on with pieces of cut-up flour sack towel. I didn't have enough knee-high nylons to make covers for all those little jars!

I looked up what to feed them, because I have no live food for them at this point, and learned we could feed them ground meat. I had some thawed, thank goodness, and stuck it on their climbing stick. They really liked it! I saw some of them fighting siblings away from the food. Hence one of the reasons they need to be separated.

They are so terribly cute - they look like mini Scipios, except they are twig-colored for camouflage. They already act just like adult insects. We watched one sway back and forth, checking us out, while sitting on Abbie's hand, and we've even seen them cleaning their tiny feet and legs, just like their mama used to do. They got all defensive when I tried to move them into their own jars.

You should hear us all crooning at these little insects. They're adorable and we're besotted. We've missed Scipio a lot since she died, so having her babies in the house now is just that much more fun for us. In the pictures below, you can see how tiny they are. Aren't they amazing?

What this means, of course, is that I need to get the other two egg cases into some kind of container with a better lid, so if those hatch too, I won't have a battalion of little mantids running amok.


  1. You are a FAR braver soul than I am...abut the closest to egg sacs I would like to be is the book Charlotte's Web. ;) Good luck!

  2. Oh, my goodness! I think I am in love!

    Who knew baby mantis could be so adorable? Congratulations on your hatch!

    What will you do with all the babies?

    -Cristyl @

  3. Cristy - We hope to be able to keep at least a couple of them. I'm sure my kids would all like their own, and I would too! If they don't eat each other, I will see if any homeschoolers around here would like one or more. The others, assuming we can keep them alive until it's warm enough, will be released back into our yard. We have two more egg cases to hatch, so we will be overrun if we try to keep them all!

  4. How fun! We love mantids. We have them invade our neighborhood every year and my boys LOVE catching them. ,sat year we caught a female and she laid an egg sack while in our care. The boys are waiting to see if they see the babies hatch this spring.

  5. That is so cool! My four year old is fascinated with insects so I will be showing him this.

  6. oh my, too bad you don't live closer, the children would have a blast with those. In my life I have seen a total of 3 praying mantises. The children have seen 1, we saved it from being stuck in a friend's garage door track.
    The girls get so excited when they find a lady bug in the house to put in a jar as a "pet"
    Thanks for sharing the pictures. Never have seen a baby mantis. So cute

  7. They are so cute. what a great experiment. We don't have any around here but that would be so fun to do.

  8. This is really fascinating. I will just have to show my kids your pictures, because I'm not game for doing it myself. My bad. lol Thanks for sharing it!

  9. Last summer, we had a egg sac hatch in our bedroom. I had no idea it was there -- until we had hundreds of baby mantids in our room. It was a wee bit creepy, but I will admit, they are very cool. My children and husband gathered them all up gently and took them outside.

    Fun to find you via the BYB Challenge!

  10. I will say they are cute. But one year we had a praying mantis egg sack in a Christmas tree we had cut down and put up. In the morning we awakened to hundreds of baby praying mantisses all over our living room. They were now as cute then!

    I'm stopping by from BYB.

  11. Wow they are tiny! So cute though!