Why is My Praying Mantis Not Moving?

Many people find it weird or unusual to see a praying mantis sitting quietly and wonder why these carnivorous creatures do not go from one spot to another like other insects.

Why is My Praying Mantis Not Moving? Praying mantis stops moving during the death phase, molting, and mating process when suffering from severe fatigue, stress, and pain. In addition, hungry, dehydrated, injured, and sick mantises also avoid movement. They also play dead and restrict their body movements due to predator attacks. Moreover, they conserve energy by reducing motion at low temperatures or cold weather.

They are solitary insects that avoid group activities and cooperate for food or fight with larger predators. They deal with all the problems alone and show behavioral changes.

Why do praying mantis stop moving?

Praying mantises are opportunistic feeders that change their dietary habits and activities to ensure their survival in undesirable conditions.

Death phase

They stay in one place and wait for their prey to come close to their nests. However, these are active insects and hop on other tree branches.

They stop jumping or hopping on the leaves or branches when their death phase arrives. This is the last stage of their lifecycle, and the mantis entering this phase are older insects.

Their old bodies do not support quick movements and excessive hunting as they lose efficiency and energy over time. Some other physical changes also occur in this last phase of their life.

Moreover, they feel fatigued and lose their appetite, disrupting activities due to a lack of energy to perform active hunting.

Low temperature

They are ectothermic organisms whose body temperature changes with an external temperature, as they cannot regulate it. Cold-blooded creatures find it challenging to survive in cold weather.

It is not common to see mantises in early winter because they hide at safe places in their territories. They do not move outside due to low temperatures, which can pose survival problems for them.

In addition, they reduce hunting activities and avoid leaving their nests or dense vegetation because they can get warmth by hiding in the plants.


The molting process is painful and challenging for praying mantises because their old exoskeleton is removed, and a new exoskeleton appears on the soft body.

It sometimes leads to their death when they cannot tolerate extreme pain and fail to shed their exoskeleton. So, they do not move at the molting stage and stay in one place.

You can see them clinging to branches of trees or walls of cages, and even some sit on the ground or cage floor to relax their body muscles.

Any jumping activity seems to be painful for these tiny insects, so they restrain themselves at one location and prefer to avoid unnecessary motions.


Dehydration can make praying mantis slower in performing activities because they are not adapted to live in dry conditions. They get moisture from the air, and low humidity dehydrates them.

Cold conditions have low moisture levels and cause drying of their bodies, negatively impacting their activity rate. They have sluggish movements in dehydrated conditions and move slowly.

Moreover, their body begins to shrivel due to lack of water, and their legs do not support efficient hunting and preying, so they stay within nests and stop moving.


Every organism needs plenty of food to grow and survive, as body cells need nutritional elements to produce energy and perform activities.

Hunger or starvation can make them weaker and slow down their activity rate. So, they stop moving to different locations and remain bound to one place due to a lack of energy.

Moreover, hungry insects also reduce motion when they sit in one place and wait for their prey to come. This way, they grab the bodies of prey animals and eat them to overcome hunger.

Mating behavior

Sexual cannibalism is common among them because hungry partners attack each other to eat their mates. Male mantises have to mate smartly to avoid the risk of attacks.

They avoid jumping or moving to different locations during the mating season because male mantises are at risk of decapitation if their female partners recognize them.

Accordingly, these ambush predators hide at nearby spots and avoid moving until they get a chance to mate with females. They grasp female partners in the blink of an eye, providing no chance for attack.


Praying mantis possess 6 legs and 2 antennae that play a crucial role in their active predation, allowing them to capture their prey efficiently.

Any injury in the leg and antennae affects their movement and reduces the rate of motion because they have a significant risk of attack from predators.

Moreover, they rely on forelegs to fight predators and pinch their bodies using sharp spikes. They do not leave nests frequently if their legs or antennae are injured or broken.

Play dead

Some of them can efficiently play dead when they control body movements and remain still after falling on the ground surface.

They remain still until a predator remains close to them and begin to move again when their predators leave their habitats.

It is a defensive strategy to startle predators, as they look dead when lying on the floor. This way, they can escape from death by playing dead.

Infection or illness

They suffer from several bacterial and fungal infections that can sometimes be deadly for insects. In addition, they feel weaker and less energetic after fungal infections.

These fungal spores enter their bodies through the nose or mouth and attack their bodies internally. Moreover, they begin to show lethargic behavior due to sickness and infection.

Accordingly, they stop hopping when suffering from severe infection and illness because they do not feel well to engage in regular activities.

External stress

Some external factors also affect the behavior of praying mantis because they need mild, humid conditions and light. Excessive humidity directly influences their activity rate.

In the same way, they like sunlight and remain active in the daytime, so they stop moving randomly in the nighttime and prefer to stay in one place.

Do praying mantis move slowly?

Praying mantises are pretty active and efficient insects, but they move slowly. They do not run fast and usually sit on the leaves or other areas.

Moreover, they do not approach prey until they come within their territories, showing they are naturally sluggish.

However, their strikes are quick, as they can reach a prey body in the blink of an eye. They are active hunters and grasp prey’s bodies in a few seconds without giving any chance for retaliation.

So, they move slowly and take shorter steps with their large forelegs, but they can decapitate any prey within a few minutes and swallow it.

Do young nymphs stop moving?

Young nymphs also exhibit behavioral changes according to changes in the external environment when they do not feel comfortable continuing their activities.

These baby praying mantises face several challenges during their development period when they stop moving and restrain themselves to a particular location.

Commonly, they camouflage by blending in the background environment to avoid predator attack because any movements can lead to swallowing by the predator.

In addition, they can also get sick or infected like their adult parents and play dead after detecting a threat, which reduces motion.

They also restrict movements during molting and conserve energy when feeling hungry or dehydrated, but other factors like the death phase, mating stage, and aging are not related to them.