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Can a Praying Mantis Hurt You?

The Praying Mantis is an incredibly unique creature. Although it more so resembles the cricket or grasshopper, it’s actually more closely related to the cockroach. They even look rather intimidating, but can a praying mantis hurt you?

Can a praying mantis hurt you?

Although the Mantis is known for ruthlessly killing its prey and eating its mate, one can’t help but wonder if these bugs actually pose a threat to humans? A praying mantis is not venomous but they can bite when defending themselves. However the chances of a praying mantis bite actually hurting a person is minimal. 

Keep reading to discover more facts and myths about the Praying Mantis.

Is it safe to hold a praying mantis?

Like any animal, this insect will become defensive to protect itself. This is especially true when provoked, and given the insect’s antisocial behavior and aggressive track record, it won’t require much for it to become aggravated.

The first instinct the Praying Mantis has in self-defense mode is to threaten you. It will stand tall, stretch its spiked front legs out as far as possible, spreads its wings out wide, and opens its mouth.

With this stance, a Praying Mantis is ready to defend itself from any threat. If it thinks you’re a threat, it will take this position in hopes you get the hint and back down. But if not, it will attack.

As scary as that may be to other insects, the Praying Mantis is more fascinating to us than intimidating. As long as the Mantis is not in its defensive stance, then it should be perfectly safe to hold it as you don’t have to worry about it attacking you.

Do praying mantis attack humans?

The Praying Mantis generally stays isolated and camouflaged, keeping to itself except to eat.

Because of its natural sense of solidarity, the insect will attack anything that poses a threat to its well being. They are highly visual creatures and notice any change in light or movement.

That being said, the Praying Mantis will only try to attack humans if they feel they are being provoked. However, since humans are much larger than them, and they lack a stinger, there’s really not much they can do to harm you.

The most a praying mantis will do to humans is bite or jab with the spikes on its front legs. This can hurt, but it won’t really harm you. No more than a paper-cut or small nick. Just wash the area with soap and water and apply a band-aid.

Can a praying mantis recognize humans?

It’s unclear what praying mantises might make of us big humans. However they often don’t seem particularly bothered by people. If you are gentle and careful with your approach, you can often pick them up and let them crawl on your hand. Many people even keep them as pets as their life cycle can be quite interesting to watch. But they can also become threatened by your presence and might display an aggressive posture if you get to close, in which case you should back off.

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Spitting acid or venom and blinding you..

There’s a rumor that a provoked Praying Mantis will spit venom in your face or your eyes, and we’re here to tell you that is just a myth.

The rumor got started after observing the insects known as “walking sticks”. Some species of walking sticks can secrete an acidic spray as a self-defense mechanism. They can actually shoot it about two feet with some accuracy. Certain species of praying mantis may look similar to walking sticks, hence the confusion. However praying mantis do not produce venom or any other liquid substance in self defense. They only have their front legs and bite for defense. Of course, if you are a smaller bug, this bite turns into digestion, but since you’re obviously a human being, there’s nothing to worry about.

About praying mantis

The Praying Mantis can be found all over the globe but is seen more frequently in hot climates during the spring. These insects are attracted to fragment and colorful plants that may be found on farms and in your backyard. However, due to their natural camouflage, it may be hard for you to find them where you live.

If you have been lucky enough to encounter one of these fascinating insects, you may have wondered about its behavior towards other animals and humans, as well as its purpose in the ecosystem. Maybe you’ve held one and felt it crawl on you, or perhaps you were too afraid it was going to spit in your eye…

The Praying Mantis gets its name from its large protruding front legs, which are folded together to look like it is praying. These powerful front legs do more than cry out to Jesus as the insect is an intense and aggressive predator.

This fierce predatory insect is an excellent hunter, with its ability to camouflage and track its surroundings with five eyes. Two eyes sit on the sides of its triangular-shaped head and the others in between.

Did you know this insect is the only creature that can move its head 180 degrees? With the position of its eyes and head mobility, it can see a complete 360 degrees of its environment. The ability to scan its entire surroundings comes in handy when preying on other insects.

What are the benefits of praying mantis?

Believe it or not, the Praying Mantis provides excellent benefits to the environment. Their predatory tendencies make them great for keeping pest populations down.

For instance, they would protect a garden or farm from invading bugs by eating them.

Environmental Benefits include:

  • Controlled pest populations
  • Thriving crops
  • Better yield
  • Clean gardens

Other benefits of the Praying Mantis come from folklore. In China, it is thought that the Praying Mantis can cure illnesses & that bedwetting can be cured through the consumption of roasted Mantis eggs. In Greece, Praying Mantises are associated with the word profit. But in France, it’s believed that the Praying Mantis will help lost children find their way.

“Spiritual” Benefits Include:

  • Healing powers
  • Guidance
  • Represents Spirituality


Praying Mantises are fierce creatures with incredible hunting habits. However, when it comes to interacting with them as a human, they are practically harmless.

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So when it comes to the question “can a praying mantis hurt you”, the most a Praying Mantis will do is bite you, and that’s rare.

They are insects that prefer isolation, but when it comes to humans, they usually won’t run away. It’s a myth that they will spit venom in your eyes, so you definitely won’t go blind.

The Praying Mantis is beneficial to the environment because it keeps invading bugs out of gardens and farms. There’s some interesting folklore around this insect stemming from other countries. Overall, the ecosystem benefits significantly from this incredible bug.