Are You Ready to Swap Your Dog or Cat for a Praying Mantis Pet?

Do you know that more and more people are choosing insects for pets?

There is now a bustling pet insect market, where thousands of people from many parts of the world are buying praying mantises and stick insects. Buyers, both amateurs and professionals, are willing to pay as much as $30 per insect.

Photo: YouTube/ZoneA

Although some people may opt for small and creepy types, there are buyers who look for lovely praying mantises such as the following:

  • Orchid Mantis or Hymenopus coronatus, which is adorable like a flower due to its exquisite color
  • Jeweled Flower Mantis or Creobroter wahlbergii, which looks like a character from Pokemon
  • Giant Shield Mantis or Rhombodera basalis, which is popular for its eyes that resemble those of a kitten

Meanwhile, other buyers consider shape, size, and level of required care when they search for the right mantis pet. Others want rare species for pets.

Photo: YouTube/ZoneA

And still, there are people who would rather hunt for praying mantises in the wild.

However, according to a new study that was published in the Journal of Orthoptera Research, both pet insect markets and wild hunting should concern the world.

After conducting a survey of more than a hundred buyers and sellers from 28 countries, the findings showed that buyers among the mantis community were “mostly curious enthusiasts with poor knowledge of the market dynamics and the laws behind it, even if they seem to generally care about their pet.”

Moreover, there is so much that the world does not know yet about mantises and many other insects. We lack knowledge regarding their distribution and habitats, along with the essentials and threats to their survival. We cannot know whether we are endangering them by keeping them as pets.

Photo: YouTube/ZoneA

The study recommends that, aside from imposing proper regulations on the new insect market, there must be a collaboration between insect enthusiasts and experts in the scientific world for data collation. This collaboration could pave the way for the conservation of the praying mantises and other insects.

“Hobbyists and pet insect enthusiasts are producing and sharing a huge quantity of observations on the biology and ecology of hundreds of species, even rare or still undescribed ones, a priceless heritage for the scientific community,” said the researchers. “Strengthening the dialogue between them, promoting a white market over a black one, may be a crucial help for the conservation of these insects, fundamental parts of the biodiversity of our planet, that are replacing our traditional pets at home.”

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