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Praying mantis

My 6th grade students brought in a Praying Mantis at the end of September and we set it up in a classroom terrarium. Normally we observe for a day and then return to the wild...Born to be Wild is a classroom motto. And killing a Mantis is actually against the law in New Jersey because they are considered a natural mosquito control. But we kept the Mantis because it was the end of her season, we thought, and her underside was not swollen so we guessed she had already laid her eggs or had not mated. She is still alive and thriving on crickets. Are we extending her life artificially somehow beyond her natural season?

Wildlife Expert - Ken Burton

I really admire your view-and-release policy. I try to encourage that when I can. However, my "campaign" is limited to native species, which the Praying Mantis is not, so as far as I'm concerned, the longer you keep it out of the wild, the better - although if it's already bred, the damage is done. Yes, I suspect you are prolonging this animal's life. I believe mantids usually die after breeding, and captivity is generally safer than the wild at any time of year.

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