Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Surprise Houseguest

Last Monday night I found a praying mantis in my study. I took some pictures; I left it for a bit. When I returned, it had done some exploring and was up in the plastic wrapping surrounding a keyboard propped by the wall. This was vastly interesting to the kitten, who had to be exiled from the room. I then determined that I did not want the mantis getting lost and/or suffocating in there, and so I convinced it to back its way out. Eventually it came out the bottom, and it took wing and flew hastily across the room, banging en route into the 10-y-o cat, who was like, "I'm sorry, what?"

And then it returned to the window. The window was propped open, which means there's a gap between the panes. So I got it onto my hand, opened the screen, and sent it out into the night. It promptly climbed back in.

The next morning, after checking for it, I wrote this little song:
I have a praying mantis
It came in through a crack
I tried to let it go,
but now it keeps on coming back.
(Mantis, mantis, mantis...)

Anyway. It stayed for a week. I never saw it catch any food, but I learned some stuff:

1) It grooms itself like a cat! (You may want to enlarge these to see this.)

2) Its wings look cool!

3) It drank water from my hand! (At least, I think it drank. I was holding the [film canister] cap of water over my head, so I couldn't really see. But it did examine the cap and bend its head down into it. And it seemed surprised when I pulled away. And its abdomen looked less shrunken.) It's not drinking here, but this is the cap.

And now, after exactly a week, it seems to have gone. I haven't seen it at all today. I'm glad to think of it out in the garden, for I didn't want it to die in here (either from lack of food/water or even because it's at the end of its life span, because I wouldn't know which), and I'd been kind of concerned at how still it had been much of the past three days. But I miss seeing it every day and checking on it, and having it turn its head to look at me when I approach.

And I've just been bitten up by an annoying mosquito. Maybe it was eating after all!

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