I’ve always wanted to find a praying mantis, but they seem to be so rare. Anyone with a garden will tell you that they are pretty common, but I beg to differ. I’ve been living in NY suburbia for over 35 years, and I’ve only seen a mantis once.
I was heading into the pharmacy one day and one was sitting right there on the windowsill outside the store. It was there just long enough for me to think, “Wow! A praying mantis!” And with that, it was gone.
Even as kids, my brother and I used to find snakes, salamanders, turtles, and bugs beyond count, but we never found a praying mantis. I’ve always wanted to hold one and fully appreciate the beauty of these amazing little creatures.
There I was standing on the front porch waiting for my wife to pull in from work so we could swap the cars around when something on the rail caught my eye. I looked over to see a giant praying mantis just sitting there. I was like, “HOLY CRAP!!! A PRAYING MANTIS!!!”.
I just happened to have a small plastic terrarium inside, so I quickly ran and grabbed it. I threw in some leaves and grass so that it would feel at home for the night. It was well past the kids’ bedtime, so I wanted to save it overnight to show it to the kids.
Isn’t it amazing? I don’t know if they get much bigger than this or if it’s a juvenile, but it’s a pretty impressive size for a bug!
It’s looking straight at me!
They are so gentle when they walk. They’re practically weightless. They’re fast little critters too! They sure can move…and fly. This little guy ran right up my shirt and hopped right in my hair. It was tricky getting it out of my hair without hurting it. Those little barbed appendages really latch on.
The next day when I got home from work, I showed the mantis to my three boys. They were a little apprehensive at first, but they let it crawl on them. They were a little squeamish, but they took it in stride.
After we were all satisfied that we got to “experience the mantis”, we let it go.
It flew over to the bench in the backyard where I got to take a few more pictures.
It then hopped on the tree and made its way up and out of sight.
I would have loved to have kept it a little longer, but it would have probably ended up just dying in our care. A friend of mine had one for a while and he kept it alive for a long time on a steady diet of crickets. He used to comment on how that thing would rip them to pieces. He said it was quite the show watching it eat.
I don’t think I have the time or the patience to feed bugs to bugs. Between the 3 kids, the 4 cats, and the 2 birds, I have enough mouths to feed!
I’m just happy that I finally got to hold one.