There are some videos of praying mantises eating slow-moving lizards (calotes versicolor?) that don't even put up a fight. The videos are filmed in aquariums with macro lenses and special lighting. Are there any real-life records that a praying mantis will kill and eat a lizard twice as heavy as itself?


Here is another video with a calotes. It can literally jump into the air and it is a strong and fast lizard: https://youtu.be/zfspYzOnQkw?t=188

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    Praying mantis defeating and eating large prey is well-documented. From large insects to lizards to birds. The claim here is yours that the lizard had to be drugged / refridgerated to fall victim to a mantis, and I am afraid that claim is not notable. If I see that correctly, that "lizard" in your video is a chamaeleon. Those aren't exactly the fast-moving type (except for their tongue)...
    – DevSolar
    Commented Nov 6, 2020 at 10:52
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    Some fair points there, you may as well make an answer of it. You should know the difference between a chameleon and a lizard however. Chameleons have forked feet and look completely different. That lizard looks like a calotes, they are fast and wary: youtu.be/zfspYzOnQkw?t=188 That is a fast lizard which can jump in the air. it's feet are made for running. Why didn't it move it's feet? Commented Nov 6, 2020 at 11:19
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    I admit that I'm no expert on lizards of any description, so I'm sorry if my attempt at identification was off. Why didn't it move it's feet? I'd say (from the opening of the mouth and starting to deploy its tongue) that, up until the mantis' attack, the lizard considered it prey, not threat. The voice-over stated "shock", which I find no reason to be skeptic about, as up to that point the mantis hasn't done any real damage yet. ("Why is my prey holding me?") When the biting at the jaw registered, it did start to move, and received a bad wound as a result, compounding the shock.
    – DevSolar
    Commented Nov 6, 2020 at 11:30

1 Answer 1


It seems to be a rare occurrence in the wild, but it has been recorded at least a couple of times in the literature.

There was a "Short Note" in an Austrian journal, Herpetozoa, in 1996. (Caution: I am not clear whether short notes are peer-reviewed.)

The paper, Lizards as prey of arthropods: Praying Mantis Mantis religiosa (LINNAEUS, 1758) feeds on juvenile Sand Lizard Lacerta agilis LINNAEUS, 1758, explains that generally it is rare for insects to eat lizards, outside of artificial enclosures.

According to our knowledge, there are almost no observations available on Central European insects preying upon lizards in the wild (except TOMALA 1903).

They describe previous anecdotal evidence of praying mantises eating small veterbrates, but only found one example in the literature of a lizard being eaten - a report from 1903 of a Green Lizard being predated.

However, the note reports on their own observation, in 1995, of a praying mantis eating a sand lizard.

Within half an hour, the Praying Mantis had eaten up most of the trunk, leaving nothing but the vertebrate column. After having eaten its fill, the mantis finally dropped the remainders.

They include pictures.

I skimmed some documentary videos, looking for evidence that the lizard, Lacerta agilis is as agile as its name implies. I found this recording of one moving.

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