Praying mantid eat live invertebrates, including other mantids, although larger species have been observed to eat frogs, small lizards, and even small species of mice. The combination of camouflage, extremely flexible head movements, excellent binocular vision, speed, dexterity, accurate judgement of direction and distance mean that a mantid seldom miss their prey. Mantids turn their heads toward an approaching meal, they fling out their front legs at lightening speed, and secure the prey on hooked spines near the tip of each leg.
The mantids first chew off the head of the prey, before gnawing its way down the body, devouring every morsel. Decapitation of larger prey is seldom possible, so these are eaten alive. One large Australian mantis Archimantis latistylus ) was observed to chew on a gecko (a small night lizard) for over 90 minutes, eating the entire animal, and leaving only the skull and spine. Mantids clean themselves meticulously after every meal.