Dead Leaf Mantis: Facts, Lifespan, Care, Feeding, & Breeding

The dead leaf mantis is a fun and simple pet which happens to be popular in Asian countries. It stands out among its species due to its physicality which acts as a defense mechanism for it to camouflage easily in a pile of dead leaves. Its Binomial name is known as Deroplatys desiccata. The name Desiccata is used to refer to something that resembles leafy, dead vegetation which is visually confirmed.


As said earlier this amazing creature can be found in Asia. To be more specific, they can be found in locations such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Borneo, Sumatra, and the Philippines. With these locations mentioned, it’s clear to say that their natural habitat is in the extremely humid places. And Southeastern Asia is the best place for creatures such as the dead leaf mantis to thrive.

Lifespan and size

Naturally, the dead leaf mantis along with the other varieties of its kind aren’t able to live long. If they manage to live long, they would only be able to live for a maximum of one year. As they are birthed during spring then they are expected to die in the fall. The reason is that they are mostly like to die young.

Why? …

Apart from their vulnerable physicality compared to larger mammals, cannibalism is also a huge factor.

For instance, once the male mantis is done mating with the female mantis, the female end up eating the male mantis. Even so, siblings are also most likely to eat each other.

It’s kind of like the rule for wasps, maybe bees or ants….


The limit size of the dead leaf mantis varies according to their genders. For instance, the males are able to grow up to 345mm in length while the female growth limit is within the range of 65mm-70mm. due to the female’s possibility of getting bigger, they are fit to kill and eat their male counterparts.

Facts and characteristics about the Dead leaf mantis

The dead leaf mantis possesses features/facts that make it stand out and it also shares features/facts in which other praying possesses. As an owner of a pet dead leaf mantis, you are most likely to find these below quite useful and entertaining.

Here we go:

Its dead leaf appearance

This is the obvious feature. The Dead leaf mantis has a leafy exterior which allows it to hide from predator or prey so they can kill for food. It best hiding place is among dead leaves, just as the name says.


Great vision

The praying mantis, in general, is gifted with the ability to see in 3-D. each of the compound eyes has a fovea which enables them to track and focus on acuity. Along with the two compound eyes, there are extra simple eyes located between those two compound eyes.

They seem to have a similar level of agility compared to a cat

You think your cat is agile? Check out the mantis. They are great at it too. An experiment was done to test how agile a mantis could be

. So the experiment involved filming a mantis jumping. In the end, scientist discovered that the praying mantis can jump with precision, it can contort its body in mid-air so it will be possible to land in that specific target it chose.

They feed on the live animals

A praying mantis prefers to eat live animals, unlike us that feed on dead animals. The kind of living form it feeds on are usually in the same class as they are (Insecta). They include creatures like grasshoppers, crickets and even themselves.

They are great predators in the wild

This is true because the praying mantis such as the dead leaf mantis is gifted with one the best camouflage in the wild. In addition to that, they are extremely quiet, stealthy and lighten fat when they want to feed.


Those big front legs are the reason why the mantis is so quick. Their speed is too fast for the human naked eye to track. Another reason why they are called predators is that they have spikes on their legs that enable them to pin their prey.


They don’t just feed on insects

The feeding of the praying mantis disrupts the natural food chain. They are able to feast on other class in the animal kingdom such as the aves (birds), amphibians and sometimes even reptiles. There is really no limit to what they can eat. The most preferred Part is the brain of the animal.

The female mantis feast on their lover

The female mantis and the black widow spider share a complicated sex life. After copulating with a male, the female mantis is expected to lay a lot of eggs and the female will require lots of energy and food to lay them. So it is no surprise that the female will result in eating the males.

Pop-fact– If a mantis were to live up to the maximum of one year, there is a high probability that it would a female mantis unless the male is a pet and was well taken care of.


What does a dead leaf mantis eat?

As said earlier on this post, the dead leaf mantis is able to eat various kinds of live animals. It is a complete carnivore. Its favorite food is insects. Also sometimes they go for small lizards and frogs. Even birds too. For birds, they only seek the braids. Please note that they prefer to eat their food alive.

How do you feed them?

Let’s use insect for example since they are their favorite make sure to catch enough insects alive so it can enjoy the meal. Keep feeding one by one so you will be able to know its limit. Try to avoid overfeed them so you can match and if possible, train its appetite.

Care & housing

The dead leaf mantis is not a hard pet to take care of. All that is required for housing is a suitable cage with proper heating so it can seem like the humid habitat from where it lives. This will be extremely useful if you live in cold regions.

After choosing the cage the next step is to choose the kind of flooring or environment used in the cage. This is a factor to consider if you wish for your pet mantis to be cared for. If you have young mantids, its best to use a kitchen towel which can be easily removed, cleaned up and replaced.

Once they are grown to a full adult, the best choice is to put compost, twigs and some dry leaves in the cage. It will mimic a more natural habitat for the dead leaf mantis, where it can comfortably sit, molt and hunt.


After 3-4weeks of growth for both the male and female, a mating attempt will take place. The female mantis would have lots of eggs in her ready to fertilize. These eggs make the female more hungry and aggressive they could end up eating the male. This is very possible because the females are large and bulky while the males are long and slender. The females will easily overpower them.

How do they mate?

During mating, the male mantis will mount the back of the male and then fertilize the female’s eggs. This is similar to how mammals do it.

How to make your pet mantids without any cannibalism taking place?

During the ovulation period of the female mantis, make sure to feed her lots of food because she is most likely to get aggressive and hungry. She could actually eat the male partner if possible. After the mating, if she shows any sign of aggression towards the male, take the male mantis away.


So…there you have it. Every necessary thing you need to know about the dead leaf mantis and the mantis in general. Also how to care for them and how to mate them comfortably. The dead leaf mantis is a great pet to have, especially with its intriguing features.