Taming the Mantis

MellowMantis

New member
I saw a video online of a kid handling his Tiger Mantis and it was docile, and as intelligent as different species of stomatopods seem to be. I'm trying the experiment myself at the moment,after learning that some stomatopods recognize their owners, i took the opportunity to bond with my 5" peacock after she dropped her raptorial appendages after her first day of being home with me. I have been hand feeding her scallops with no aggression, just curiosity, shes a quite interesting lil' girl. Since then, she has molted once in a 3 month span and has gained 2 little punchers back. Today I feel like I made a breakthrough!!! I had my hand in the tank using a toothbrush, scrubbing the glass and my mantis poked out to see what was up. came right up to the toothbrush, checked it out, checked me out, didn't try to punch at all, and then went back into her hole just to poke right back out. So I took a chance and pet my mantis on the head, she didn't spook, didn't do anything but look at me with interest, eyes constantly pivoting, and taking it all in. Afterwards I held a piece of scallop in the water and she swam right up and took it out of my fingers.I am feeling quite satisfied with my experience. I really want to know how much they really understand, and was hoping if anyone else had a similar experience they could share, can a smashing type mantis be tamed to the point you could put your hand in the tank without fear of attack, to the point they can distinguish food from hand and know not to punch the hand that feeds them?
 

WerezMiePie

New member
Just thinking about a hand touching a peacock mantis is freaking scary... Their punch may be a little exaggerated but, I don't like cracked knuckles so....
 

EI Gringo

New member
Peacocks are not maniacs. My new o scyllarus has only been in the tank for about 5 week's but is already tame enough that I have no fear whatsoever, that being an untamed animal does not scare me. I frequently put my finger in its arms to have it investigate me and some what play with me, they won't hit you hard if at all as they are not threatened by you, species like chiragra and glabrous are far more likely to hurt you because they can feel threatened. I should maybe make a video of me playing with Osiris my o.scyllarus. With my old one I used to refuse to let go of his dinner, he would start tapping me harder and harder repetitively until I dropped it :L didn't hurt me once though.
 

Calappidae

Harlequin Shrimp
You mean the video of a poorly contained L. maculata that couldn't even angle a strike? Yeah I would take that "bond" with a grain of salt..


However aside from the "inspirational source".. stomatopods are indeed various in personality. Without a doubt they seem to learn their owner's actions and surroundings, I've had several stomatopods of the same species behave differently with my interaction. One time I even remember a really interesting atempt of communication from mine, I was preforming a water change and turned off the pump for his burrow. I forgot to turn the pump back on, so hours later he started hitting the front glass to grab my attention.. then started hitting the pump itself in the tank which surprised me how it knew something was wrong, the source of the problem, and who to gain attention to fix for him. If that doesn't show a sign of intelligence I don't know what does, but "petting" the animal I'd never do so surely.. they seem to know their limits when it comes to fighting, if the animal feels the need to strike than it will.. however if it knows running is a safer option then it'll take it. Figuring out if the animal doesn't see you as a threat, is waiting for a better oppertunity to guarentee a flawless strike, or is avoiding returning contact for it's own safety should still be taken with caution. (They may not strike to avoid getting their dactyls stuck). It's nice to show the public how stomatopod's have a much more gentle side, and this thread shows it, however be extremely careful as they are still "thumbsplitters" for very good reason..
 

EI Gringo

New member
My previous O.Scyllarus did a similar thing where it hadn't eaten for several days after a molt, it had been rejecting food. One morning I was having a lie in and was woken by the distinctive sound of dactyl on glass, which is strange because it never hit the glass before and there was no need for it to do so now, I gestured with my hand and it showed interest, it was apparent to me that Armaldo was hungry and I brought it a cockle. It eagerly took the cockle and ate happily for the first time in almost a week. Basically it gained my attention in the only way it knew I would understand and stood at the front of the tank clawing at the glass like a dog inside a car trying to greet its owner. Very intelligent animals indeed and I would argue that this intelligence is as impressive a trait as their eyesight, power and beauty.
 

Gonodactylus

Premium Member
Aggressive levels change over time and a "docile" animal today can become quire aggressive as it approaches a molt. Also, a large peacock can inflict a painful and potentially dangerous wound even if it has lost its raptorial appendages. The uropod spines are very sharp and can be used to stab a predator grasping an animal.

Every year or two I reminded people who want to risk being stabbed by a stomatopod that the wounds they inflict can become infected and cause serious consequences. Case in point - a South African surgeon stabbed by a large female peacock mantis. The wound became infected with a bacteria that did not respond to antibiotics and part of the hand had to be amputated.

Roy
 

EI Gringo

New member
Roy, at least he was a surgeon so that he could do the operation himself to save money :L but yes caution should still be used at all times, the sharp dactyl is not to be underestimated on a smasher.
 

Kharn

MANTISMAN
I respect the animals too much to want to touch them.

WHY touch them is the real question, just to say you did ?

Versus a potentially painful position ?

I don't keep stomatopods because their like a puppy that you play with and cuddle.

I keep stomatopods because their the worlds most formidable organism and THAT commands respect.
 

MellowMantis

New member
Taming the Mantis

Thanks, everyone for sharing, i loved the various stories and thanks Dr. Roy for the insight into the bad end of it, i love the mantis article in CORAL magazine and your list of stomatopods has been very helpful in identifying the local mantis species I have collected. This is the 4th mantis I have owned, first one i payed for the other 3 were all locally collected myself,(L. glabriuscula,C. scolopendra, S. rugosa) and my peacock has much more personality then the others. Her punchers are still small so i had the nerve to try my little experiment,helps that shes eating scallops eventually ill give her more crustaceans to dine on. I'll remain wary and use this time to hopefully establish a good bond with my mantis, and when those punchers come back I will definitely be extremely cautious, always respect the Mantis. I'll try and get some videos to post in the future of my feedings and interactions, and if anyone else has videos to post to this thread I would love to see them. Thanks again everyone for commenting on the more friendly natured stomatopods!:)
 

nmotz

New member
I've been hit by two of my former mantids, a Chiragra and a Peacock. I was moving some LR around in the tank when my Chiragra took exception to the commotion I was making and unceremoniously rapped me on the knuckle. It was really just a warning shot though because I saw it hit a lot harder than that on occasion.

My Peacock hit me several times and I made the mistake of trying to get it to adapt to hand-feeding. It once grabbed a hold of my index finger and before I knew what was happening, he pulled it to his mouthparts and bit me. That actually really hurt. I was bleeding all over the place. I rinsed it carefully with rubbing alcohol and watched it to make sure it didn't become infected.

All that to say it's important to treat these creatures with respect even though they depend on us for survival. I feel like most mantis shrimp that do strike in the home aquarium are intelligent enough to know that they only need to use enough power to frighten, not to damage. Still, they're wild animals that are unpredictable and rather bellicose by nature so it's important to understand the risks associated with keeping them as pets.
 

ATLL765

New member
Screw that. It's not a tame animal, you cannot tame it and the risk for injury or fouling the tank when you bleed all over is far too great. I will put my hands in the tank only when I have to and I keep a close eye on my mantis when I do.
 

Hadla

Mantis Whisperer
This thread reminds me of a short but funny story: I was putting a carpet anemone in my biocube with my bare hands (usually I wear gloves), completely focused on it that I forgot about Roger! I felt little claws grab a finger and freaked out which in turn scared him! It was so funny at the time and I still have to smile when I think about it :)
 
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