A couple weeks back people began reporting through Facebook and other means about the sudden appearance of Praying Mantis about them. It seems August is their month. And as I thought back to the one I found last year, it was in August as well. A nice bright green one that happened to catch a Cicada in a field near the house and made a meal of it.
I had hoped to find another Mantis this summer, especially with having this new macro lens. And luck have it, one came my way. Seems one got into the warehouse at work and I ran into someone who found it and was escorting it outside. They knew my love for all creatures great and small, and handed me this one.
A co-worker and I took it out back and set it free. I really wanted to take it home for a photo shoot but I thought that would be selfish of me. The Mantis crawled up the exterior wall and came to a stop about 10 feet above us, where the siding began.
The next day I come to work, I happen to go out that door and noticed the Mantis was still in the very same spot. I thought to myself, "if you are still there when it's quitting time, I am taking you home". And sure enough, nearing 30 hours later, the Mantis was still there. So I managed to bring him down with a long broken piece of pallet, gently bringing the wood near him, and he climbed onto it. I put him in my Tim Hortons cup and away we went.
The drive home, this creature became very active, not liking his new surroundings. And it was an eerie scratching noise he made on the underside of the cup's lid.
We make it home, and I break off a couple branches from the yard waste bags out front of the house and bring those in as well. I knew where I was going to leave him for the evening, in my 10 gallon cricket container I use for the Frogs' food, being live crickets. In mere minutes, the Mantis took a liking to this yet again new surroundings, especially with all the walking meals below him. And it turned into something like Godzilla hitting Tokyo, only on a much bloodier scale than any of those movies.
The Mantis would grab a cricket, pull it in towards him, and then bite the head off the cricket, discarding the cranium, and enjoyed the gooey innards dripping from the opening where the head was once attached.
Here he is waiting for another victim.
He devoured 4 crickets in 30 minutes. I guess it was safe to assume my bringing him home was a good thing? Poor guy was pretty hungry!
I left him in the tank for night, as planned, and he did not eat another cricket. He rested in the leaves of the branches I brought in for him. And the next morning, I brought him out for a little photo shoot.
Shooting live insects, even one like this who seems to spend much of the time still, is not difficult, because he does constantly make the slightest moves... and that macro lens captures it all. But I made the best of it over nearly an hour in the kitchen.
I even tried to entice him with another morsel but he was not interested anymore. It was this cricket's lucky morning. Unfortunately, he met one of the Frogs later that evening.
The Praying Mantis sure is alien like.
Not sure what you call these things he captures his prey with. I should read up on these guys more.
As I said, it was a lot of fun with this Mantis in the kitchen.
But I had to let him go back to the wild world, and fulfill his destiny of finding a mate, procreating, and unfortunately meeting his death at the hands of his female partner. She will do much like what he did with those crickets, biting his head off and devouring him after "the deed" is done. Nature is harsh but Mother knows what she is doing...