When Will I See My Last Praying Mantis?


If I was writing a book, this might be the name.

Praying Mantises are beautiful, powerful creatures. They rid the garden of pernicious bugs. But they are also mesmerizing; their movements like a trance-life dance. If you direct one onto your hand, they are light as air, very curious, and unafraid, unless affronted. Throughout the years, I have had to save Praying Mantises from dangerous situations and places. I have never experienced anything but sheer enchantment when they are calm and curious. I have also observed them when they are made angry. They stand high and flare out their wings. In an instant they are on the defense and can appear very threatening. Not a creature to be messed with.

Last year there were two Praying Mantises in my backyard; one in a pot of mums, one ine a pot of Golden Fleece. I watched them and protected them as best I could throughout the summer and early fall.

They would become visible as I watered the plants they lived in. One was rather flighty and often took off up the plum tree just behind the potted Golden Fleece. The other one, in the pot of mums was more emboldened and would come out and keep a keen eye on what I was doing and where. I loved watching them; anticipating seeing them on watering days.

At the end of their season, they both coalesced on the stucco of our patio; to mate, I’m guessing. I saw them for a few days on the patio, then they were gone.

This year, there was a rather large Praying Mantis in the front yard garden, in a pot of Geraniums. Like the others the year before, this one only came out when I was watering. This Praying Mantis was different than the two the previous year. This one did not have the capability to change colors to camouflage itself. It was a straw-yellow. Perhaps it was too old to turn colors.

Because of its light color amid the greens of the plants, I worried that it would more easily become some creature’s meal. I prayed for it to flourish and to be safe. Then there were two or three times I was watering and could not see the Praying Mantis anywhere. I wondered what had happened to it. Then while watering the big pot of mint in the backyard I glimpsed a large, straw-colored Mantis. This one had to be the same one that had been in the front yard.


Joyfully, I watched it come us through the foliage each time I watered the mint plants. Then one evening, I saw a green, smaller Praying Mantis. The larger one was not to be seen. My guess, it one was female and one was male and they mated, likely leaving the male dead. I have not seen either Praying Mantis since.

(I love Praying Mantises. I have one tattooed on my right shoulder – very life-like; quite beautiful.)

I’m wondering if those will be the last Praying Mantises I will see?

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