Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ode to a praying mantis

As I was mowing with my hand bushhog yesterday, I spotted an unusually large praying mantis calmly perched on the branch of a small bush. The whirling blade came within inches of the insect, but it refused to move.

I picked it up and took it to the front porch for a photo shoot. The mantis measured almost 5 inches long. The green on its body looked exactly like a small leaf. The big guy took a couple of small bites out of my finger with its strong mandibles.

A “walking stick,” as the praying mantis is often called, makes a great photo subject, remaining in a rigid pose if you wave your hand in front of it. I pestered it for a few minutes and then deposited it in a rhododendron bush near the front door.

The experience prompted me to pen this limerick:

A mantis was putting on airs
Camouflage so good that it wears
The “stick” was just snoring
When the mower came roaring
It should have been saying its prayers

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