Friday, October 23, 2009
The girls and I were hanging out with some of our neighbors yesterday enjoying the absolutely beautiful weather and low and behold look at what comes walking up to us; a praying mantis. I have to say they're very bazaar looking. Kind of a a cross between something prehistoric and a mini alien. But talk about God's timing! Hailey was studying for a test she's taking today on Habitats and animals who use camouflage to adapt to their habitats. Mantises are masters of camouflage and most species make use of protective coloration to blend in with the foliage or substrate, both to avoid predators themselves, and to better snare their victims. Various species have adapted to not only blend with the foliage, but to mimic it, appearing as either living or withered leaves, sticks, tree bark, blades of grass, flowers, or even stones. Praying Mantises are exclusively predatory and most species are known to engage in cannibalism. Larger species have been known to prey on small lizards, snakes, and even rodents. The majority of mantises are ambush predators, waiting for prey to stray too near. The mantis then lashes out at remarkable speed. Some ground and bark species, however, pursue their prey rather quickly. We got to see this first hand as it moved very quickly up Hailey's arm and into her shirt! Eeeek! Surprisingly, though, praying mantises are particularly susceptible to an enzyme found in the mucus excreted by slugs, and thus, their primary enemy is the slug. I hate slugs!!! After much exploration and admiration of our new found friend, the girls begged me to give him/her a new home IN OUR HOUSE. I quickly and kindly vetoed that idea, but did suggest a better option. I told them that many organic gardeners encourage mantises as a form of biological pest control in their gardens. Tens of thousands of mantis egg cases are sold each year in garden stores to keep the BAD bugs away. So after MUCH discussion and a few bribes, the girls decided that although they would love a new pet, it's probably not in it's best interest to live in our home, especially if you'd seen the way Bandit was eyeballing it. :) So we happily agreed to give our new found friend a beautiful new home in our lush flower beds. Now, we're all hoping it adapts, and enjoys it's new home(habitat)as much as we do!
Lovingly created by The Giles Family