Tuesday, November 17, 2009

More interesting than any insect had a right to be. The rise and fall of Jeff the mantid.

We woke up on Sunday and found that Jeff had died. We were surprised she lived as long as she did. Still, it was somewhat of a bummer. Which proves you can get attached to anything. Truthfully she turned out to be a really clean pet. Although the last couple of weeks she did start to take on a fishy tone. We were trying to resolve how we'd handle that.

We were always fascinated about how well she adjusted to being handled. She had no fear of us, and in the end seemed like she owned us rather than us owning her. Without putting to many human characteristics on her - she seemed to like the human interaction. Which I think mostly amounted to enjoying body heat. Even though they are cold blooded, she often sought places that were warmer. Computer monitors. People. The fireplace.

This picture was from the first escape. You can see how big and fat she was. We kept the lid on her a lot more after that. It took us a while to find her.

She never flew, and the only time she'd use her wings was to threaten. Which always made this amazingly loud scraping sound. And the only time she seemed inclined to leave her cup was when it was time to lay an egg sack. She laid her last one a couple of days before she died. 3 and a half in total. Though only one is fertilized.

Even then, she wouldn't fly anywhere. Opting instead to just fall off the table. On Friday she did this and took off. We let her, because she'd been cooped up for a while. This is where she encountered Saffron and threatened her. Which was pretty funny.

It was totally unexpected that there could be any attempt to domesticate these things. But, she seemed content to just hang out on her Styrofoam cup. Often unattended. When you'd walk into the room, she'd swing her head around and just watch you.

I think the best hope is getting them when they are an inch of so in size. Before they get their wings and become adults. Feeding her moths seemed to give us the biggest bang for the insect food buck. In summer that was much easier.


The End.


  1. Aww. RIP, Jeff. What a neat pet, in both senses of "neat." I really enjoyed reading about her exploits in your house. I'd like to keep a praying mantis myself someday, but I think my mean cat would probably try to eat it.

  2. Bugs don't last that long (and PM's last longer than most). But it was a fun trip while it lasted!

  3. It's good that they are temporary pets. I once had a puffer fish that was a complete asshole. Finally after a year I got tired of him because he'd eat all the friends I tried to match him with - but I'd invested all this food in him, and I couldn't just flush him. He lasted three years.

    I don't know Miz Minka. Those talons are surprisingly sharp. When Jeff got big and fat, she'd somehow dig those things in really deep. And it actually kind of hurt. When she shed the egg fat they'd go back to normal.