This week I’ve had two close encounters with praying mantises. The first time, I was out walking the dog at night and spotted one in the middle of the road. Luckily, I saw her before the dog did or I probably would have just found pieces of a praying mantis. After a good long look — they are so cool looking — I chased her off the road into the bushes, so she’d be safe from speeding cars, curious dogs or whatever likes to hunt praying mantises (the hunter sometimes becomes the hunted). A day later I found one on top of the coffee maker in my kitchen. I scooped her up and released her outside. I love the way their heads swivel around, even as they keep their bodies really still. They seem so alien.
A praying mantis in your garden is a good sign letting you know the natural food chain is humming along. They don’t eat your plants. They eat bugs! They are voracious carnivores and predators. Unfortunately, they don’t discriminate between “good” bugs and “bad” bugs. They’re just as likely to munch on a beneficial ladybug as they are to snack on a housefly. Which is fine with me. A big part of having a garden is not being in control of everything all the time. Sometimes it’s nice to be a spectator.
Here’s a link to some more odd facts about this creature: Praying_Mantis_Facts