The Beaten Path
With Jack Armistead
I call it special delivery.
I was pleasantly surprised recently when a 5- inch
Praying Mantis appeared perched on my mailbox. Some
say that spotting a praying mantis will bring you
good luck. I certainly hope so.
I looked at the mantis for a few minutes and took
several photos with my phone. As I got close to
the huge insect I noticed that he was watching my
every move. I took a step to the right and the mantis
turned his head to watch my changing positions.
Wow! He acts like a little human, I thought. I began
talking to him as neighbors passing by probably
thought I was nuts. But it seemed like he or she
was listening while returning my glances.
Naturally my fascination of the unusual insect took
me to the internet for research. I found a fact-filled
story by writer Debbie Hadley.
Try to sneak up on a praying mantis and you
may be startled when it looks over its shoulder
at you, Hadley wrote.
That's because a mantis has the ability to turn
their heads a full 180 degrees.
No other insect can do so. Praying mantids
have a flexible joint between the head and prothorax
that enables them to swivel their heads. This ability,
along with their rather humanoid faces and long,
grasping forelegs, endears them to even the most
entomophobic people among us, Hadley wrote.
That sure was true about my new friend on my mailbox.
Other interesting factoids contained in the article:
If a female mantis is hungry it is not unusual for
her to eat her mate.
Watch out, guys!
Some people keep these creatures as pets because
their faces look like monsters from out of space.
If you want to keep one a 1-square foot tank is
a good size for most praying mantises. The 12-inch
height is important to provide space for molting.
A mesh top is preferred and mesh openings on the
side are helpful, if possible.
If you take good care of a mantis you will have
a friend for at least a year.
Check out the photo above. Hes looking at
you. Say hello.