How Long Can a Praying Mantis Live Without Water?

Water is essential for the survival of praying mantis because these insects can get dry after losing moisture and ultimately die.

How Long Can a Praying Mantis Live Without Water? A praying mantis can live for 2 to 4 days without water because their hard exoskeleton prevents drying for some time, but young nymphs can survive for only a day. Their bodies begin to get dry due to dehydration, resulting in death. Their size, living conditions, external environment, ventilation, type of food, and activity level determine their water requirements.

Insects can adapt to different environmental conditions, and every species has different requirements for water and food to ensure survival.

How long can a praying mantis survive without water?

Praying mantis do not need plenty of water to overcome thirst, as they can survive in humid conditions by absorbing the moisture droplets to prevent dehydration.

They can live without drinking water for long because their bodies can resist water loss by retaining moisture. The hard outer shell of chitin acts as a barrier to loss of moisture in hot weather.

Exoskeleton prevents direct exposure to hot sun rays to their bodies and reduces the loss of moisture from their muscular bodies.

Moreover, they do not show any noticeable symptoms of dehydration in a few hours and live for almost 2 to 4 days without getting exposed to moist conditions.

The external environmental conditions play a significant role because hot temperature leads to quick water loss due to moisture evaporation from their bodies.

In the same way, the cold conditions can keep them moist for a long because the sun’s rays do not hit their bodies directly, and the rate of evaporation is slow.

Accordingly, you can mist their enclosures after 2 to 4 days to prevent dehydration and hardening of their exoskeleton.

Excessive misting can lead to mold growth because it gets attracted to moisture.

So, slightly mist the internal environment of the cage and maintain the humidity as they prefer to live at ideal temperature and humidity level.

What factors determine the water requirement of a praying mantis?

Some factors affect the rate of water loss in praying mantis and determine their requirements for water because these insects are prone to drying in dry conditions.

Type of food

Praying mantis get water from their food source, so it depends on the type of food as every prey animal has different fluid content in their bodies.

The moisture content in live insects like crickets and grasshoppers is around 73% and 45%, while that of frogs and snakes is around 75% and 80%.

Accordingly, they need more water if they choose grasshoppers as food, but their bodies can retain moisture for a long if they select prey animals with high water content.

It means they can remain hydrated for a long time when they eat frogs, snakes, and grasshoppers with higher water content than crickets.

External temperature

The temperature of the external environment matters for a praying mantis because they feel thirsty in hot weather when sun rays directly touch their bodies.

They look for moisture drops on the leaves and puddles on the ground to reduce body temperature and moisten their bodies.

Heat due to sun rays can lead to quick evaporation of moisture and dryness of the exoskeleton. In contrast, they can retain water in winter because cold weather slows evaporation.

Level of Humidity

Moisture in the external environment or atmosphere also affects their ability to retain moisture in their bodies because dry conditions favor quick water loss.

A moderate humidity level supports their survival as they can continue their life functions better when the humidity level is around 55 to 70%.

Higher humidity levels can cause discomfort for these tiny insects, mainly when the airflow is not good enough to evaporate the moisture drops.

Their bodies begin to lose moisture quickly when living in dry and hot conditions because the moisture starts to evaporate.


They live in terrariums with adequate ventilation due to multiple holes that allow good airflow within an enclosure. These insects need good airflow to survive within the cage.

Ventilation in a cage also affects their water requirement because airflow determines the evaporation rate. Good airflow means quick evaporation of the moisture drops from walls or floor.

However, poor ventilation can keep enclosures moist for a long time and helps avoid loss of moisture content from their bodies for many days.

So, it depends on the living conditions provided to praying mantis, as wild species are usually exposed to more air than pet mantis as they live in an enclosure.

Body Size

Their size directly influences their basic food and water needs because bigger insects need more nutrition to survive.

However, the smaller insects have fewer body cells that do not need much nutrients and moisture for cellular metabolism. Their body weights are also lower, which allows less consumption of energy.

The Chinese praying mantis are large-sized insects that consume more nutrients and moisture to keep their bodies functioning, but European mantis are smaller with lesser requirements.

The bigger insects can feel dehydrated within 30 to 50 hours when living in dry conditions, but the smaller ones can retain body water for 3 to 4 days.

Living conditions and activities

The living conditions primarily determine the water requirement of these insects because wild species have different requirements than those living in captivity.

Wild species of praying mantis require more water to keep themselves hydrated because their bodies can get dehydrated quickly due to increased activity levels.

They have to make efforts to locate food sources and capture their prey. In the same way, they are at more risk of predator attack, so they have to fight for their survival, which consumes energy.

Accordingly, they have to drink more water compared to those living in captivity because the pet mantis usually gets food within the cage.

The pet mantis do not perform daunting activities as they only jump, hang, and play within their cage or with their owners. They can easily devour prey because prey animals cannot leave the cage.

Do baby praying mantis need more water than adults?

The food and water requirements of a baby and adult praying mantis differ as their bodies are at different stages of their lifecycle.

Nymphs need to drink more than adults because they are more susceptible to dry conditions.

Moreover, they have to pass through several stages of molting, which can be a deadly process if their bodies are dehydrated.

They can efficiently molt and shed their exoskeleton in humid conditions; otherwise, it can be a painful process to deal with. They can die due to pain or cannot remove the exoskeleton properly.

In addition, these nymphs can only live for 24 hours without drinking as their bodies are more prone to dehydration and its effects.

However, adults can somehow deal with dry conditions for approximately 2 to 4 days without showing any prominent symptoms.

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