Sunday, October 5, 2008

My Wild Life, Part XCII: The Deadly Mantis

It's not love that left you standing

A few years ago, my son became a father at the ripe old age of six. He'd gotten a packet of praying mantis eggs at the Magic Wings butterfly conservatory and a couple hundred of the little buggers hatched, sending him running around in circles yelling "Dad! I'm a Dad! Daddy! I'm a Daddy!" It took some convincing that all of his "children" couldn't live with us permanently, but eventually he was persuaded to let them go, scattering them in the six or seven gardens we keep in the yard in the hopes that they wouldn't devour each other.

This summer and last we've been fortunate enough to find that the tribe of mantises that Cormac founded are still going strong, keeping our gardens free from nuisance bugs. My daughter found this healthy specimen outside the garden at the end of our driveway:



I think that that is a grasshopper or locust that the mantis is draining of it's sweet life nectar, but I didn't want to get too close in case it turned it's clacking, razor sharp mandibles on my own tender gut meat.



I have to admit, I'm nervous at the way my son whispers to these critters. He's been spending a lot more time with them since I limited his XBox time, and sometimes at night I think I can hear the ticking of a thousand stick-like feet at my bedroom window...

7 comments:

Jeanne said...

I've lived in the same house for the past 17 years, and this year's praying mantis population is the biggest I've ever seen. Some of the mantises are six inches long! And they're fearless--if you try to scoot one back from the edge of a screen door so he won't get crushed when you close it, he'll put his "dukes" up and challenge you!

Meg said...

that's cool, i wish i was a praying mantis whisperer. :(
Glad your son is having fun tho! :)

~Meg

Victoria said...

haha thats cool we dont really have many mantises or is it manti? hummmm..... if u figure out wat the plural of mantis is tell me. thats a tricky one. anyway i hope your son has fun w/ them(mantis, manti, or mantises)!!!

Daniel Waters said...

Hi Jeanne!

This one was about six or seven inches long, too--and he did put his dukes up and furl his wings. They kind of look like the mother alien from Alien in the back when they do that.

Take care,
Dan

Daniel Waters said...

Hi Meg!

Th mantis whisperer! I love it!

Take care,
Dan

Daniel Waters said...

Hi Victoria!

When I looked it up the plural was "mantises", but there is no doubt that "manti" sounds cooler.

Take care,
Dan

Victoria said...

haha....thanks. i think so too!