Q:

Are praying mantises harmful to humans?

A:

Quick Answer

According to Encyclopædia Britannica, praying mantises feed exclusively on insects, and they are harmless to humans. No known venomous species of mantis exists. Although their appearance may be frightening, mantises are uninterested in humans.

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Full Answer

The term "mantis" comes from the Greek word for a diviner or soothsayer. This name comes from the placid, motionless nature of the insect. The prominent forearms of the mantis also appear to be in a position of prayer. Praying mantises are voracious hunters, seizing nearly any insect or small animal they can hold, and often eating their prey alive. Their camouflage is also impressive within the animal kingdom; they are able to blend in seamlessly with leaves, twigs and other vegetation.

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