I was attacked by a giant praying mantis last night!

praying mantis, cannibalism, entomology, bugs, mating
@TheHorse (52725)
Pleasant Hill, California
October 11, 2015 12:21pm CST
Once in awhile, I'll come home to find a large praying mantis on the outside wall near my front door. They're weird bugs. They are green, look like they're praying, and have heads that can swivel 180 degrees. They rarely fly away. They'll just sit there and watch you with their compound eyes and swively heads. Last night, I came home to the biggest one I've ever seen. It was close to 4" long and fat in the middle. I wondered if it was a female about to lay eggs. Anyway, she was on the ground, and I wanted to move her so she wouldn't get squished. I had read that they have grasping front legs (arms) and powerful jaws (they're carnivores), so I used a piece of paper to try and pick her up. She got really mad, puffed out her wings, and was grasping and biting at the piece of paper. She was large enough that I could feel it as I held the paper. Finally, I got her on the paper and moved her to a safer place. This morning, she was back on the ground near my front door. I hope shes not suicidal. Maybe she has mistaken me for her future mate, but I'm not interested, as I've read that females bite the heads off of their lovers about 30% of the time. Do you have praying mantises where you live?
11 people like this
11 responses
@yukimori (8544)
• United States
11 Oct 15
Oh, she's spectacular! I found one a little smaller than that hanging out on the screen on the kids' window. I usually leave them alone, but I caught that one in a jar and took it over to the daycare to show the toddlers. They thought it was awesome, and when we got home I put it back where I found it. It didn't want to come out of the jar, though!
3 people like this
@TheHorse (52725)
• Pleasant Hill, California
11 Oct 15
I think their hunting technique is just to sit there, looking like a small tree branch, until an unsuspecting bee or fly comes along. Then, like Bruce Lee, they grab quickly with those spiny front legs.
3 people like this
@yukimori (8544)
• United States
11 Oct 15
@TheHorse Yep, that's pretty much it. I love watching them in action!
3 people like this
@yukimori (8544)
• United States
11 Oct 15
@TheHorse Speaking of mantises... look what the kids just discovered on the fence in the backyard! Okay, it should be there now... I forget to resize them sometimes.
3 people like this
@Jadedjinn (137)
• Pea Ridge, Arkansas
11 Oct 15
Hahahaha! Oh that's so funny! :-D LMFAO! I love the way you said it, I'm still laughing! :-D There is a large female who lays her eggs on my front porch every year. She is almost the size of my hand and her body has turned brownish in color. When her eggs hatched this year I was lucky enough to see the new babies. They were stranded on the table. Being the crazy person I am I talked to them and offered my finger to carry them to my flower garden. One by one they climbed on my finger and let me move them to the flowers. It was really cool. One of them didn't want to get of of me it just kept running back and forth on my finger. I just let it sit there on my finger for a while. We just looked at each other. Then i told it come on little guy I gotta go and put my finger back to the flower, it then climbed off.. They are said good luck, i dont know about that but they are great for keeping the bugs down in the garden.
3 people like this
@TheHorse (52725)
• Pleasant Hill, California
11 Oct 15
Very cool! How little were the babies?
1 person likes this
• Pea Ridge, Arkansas
11 Oct 15
@TheHorse they fit on my fingertip with room to spare
2 people like this
@TheHorse (52725)
• Pleasant Hill, California
12 Oct 15
@Jadedjinn That's pretty cool. Mine is still out there. She found a sort of "hiding place." I wonder if it's time to lay her eggs somewhere, or what.
@Asylum (47121)
• Manchester, England
11 Oct 15
It is a pity that we do not have those insects here because they are fascinating creatures.
3 people like this
@TheHorse (52725)
• Pleasant Hill, California
11 Oct 15
I read this morning that they're originally tropical but made it here to the US by various means. I enjoy watching them swivel their heads to watch me. But I've never seen one catch a bug.
1 person likes this
@Asylum (47121)
• Manchester, England
11 Oct 15
@TheHorse Oh, so you only have lazy preying mantises?
2 people like this
@TheHorse (52725)
• Pleasant Hill, California
11 Oct 15
@Asylum I see them as just waiting for the right moment.
1 person likes this
@jstory07 (58289)
• Roseburg, Oregon
11 Oct 15
I would not want to be her mate if she is going to bite my head off. Violent things when it comes to their mates.
3 people like this
@TheHorse (52725)
• Pleasant Hill, California
11 Oct 15
Yeah, I'm going to stick with "just friends." She's still out there.
1 person likes this
@NeldaHoxie (1422)
• United States
11 Oct 15
Perhaps you'll have babies hanging out shortly.
3 people like this
@TheHorse (52725)
• Pleasant Hill, California
11 Oct 15
Hope they're not mine. I still seem to have my head, though. Am sipping coffee.
4 people like this
@owlwings (38155)
• Cambridge, England
11 Oct 15
We don't have mantises here but I remember that one of my friends had one as a pet. I'm not sure how or what he fed it on - maybe grasshoppers which I believe can be bought in pet shops as food for lizards and snakes and such. They are fascinating animals and certainly make a change from stick insects (a quite common insect 'pet' here).
2 people like this
@TheHorse (52725)
• Pleasant Hill, California
12 Oct 15
I read that they're not real choosy, and they'll eat just about any kind of bug. Some huge ones (probably in the tropics) even eat mice and such like. I don't want to meet one that big.
1 person likes this
@lilnana1111 (2462)
• United States
11 Oct 15
You're braver than I am, I'd made my hubby move it and if he wasn't home, I'd gone in a different door.
2 people like this
@TheHorse (52725)
• Pleasant Hill, California
12 Oct 15
Seems like I just woke my little friend from a nap. She's in a gap in the railing. Looked up and started coming toward me (slowly) when I started talking to her. Almost cute.
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (121374)
• Switzerland
12 Oct 15
We have them, not many but I always see some in summer. It's better to be careful, they have powerful jaws.
1 person likes this
@TheHorse (52725)
• Pleasant Hill, California
12 Oct 15
That's why I picked her up on a piece of paper. I admit that I'm curious to know what a mantis bite would feel like (they're not venomous), but not THAT curious.
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (121374)
• Switzerland
13 Oct 15
@TheHorse I am sure they are not venomous, but I do not care to know what a mantis bite feel like, I know that ant bites can be very painful.
@allknowing (55699)
• India
12 Oct 15
I am impressed that you spent time with this creature. Its back because it knows it is safe.
1 person likes this
@TheHorse (52725)
• Pleasant Hill, California
12 Oct 15
I think the mourning doves like my balcony because they know it's safe. But this gal? I think she was looking for spiders or flies and left me high and dry (and uneaten, happily) when I couldn't provide for her.
@allknowing (55699)
• India
12 Oct 15
@TheHorse Your house must be clean that you have no spiders and flies. Atleast for your friend's sake you better invite spiders and flies
@bluesa (12681)
• Johannesburg, South Africa
11 Oct 15
We do. And let me tell you, if those wings puffed out, you would have heard me a country mile away! Great that you safely moved her aside, I sure hope that praying mantis does not, or, you better run. :-D
1 person likes this
@TheHorse (52725)
• Pleasant Hill, California
12 Oct 15
She's gone tonight. I think she loves another. I will not be eaten.
• United States
11 Oct 15
'n that last bit - wuss yes sir, got lots 'f 'em 'round here 'n they can 'come quite ticky when they've no desire to be moved. i oops'd 'n watered one last year 'n she clawed the dickens outta my arm. looked like i'd been in a cat fight. 'course schtuff went from bad to hades when she got stuck in my hair...but that's 'nother story. great shot, by the way. we've got 'em here in all colors - from that light green, to emerald, brown 's driftwood to steely gray.
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@TheHorse (52725)
• Pleasant Hill, California
12 Oct 15
I think they may change colors to hide themselves, but I'm not sure about that.
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