I Was Munched On By A Praying Mantis & I Still Love Them!
When I was young, my Dad was photographing an adult female who was particularly defensive and on my hand. Dad was trying to get a side view of her in the attack mode, but she was turning around with him as he moved to get the side view photo of her. I lifted up my little finger on my other hand to distract her, and got too close to her, and she grabbed it and started biting me and eating my skin near the cuticle! We finally had to give her a piece of meat to chew on to get her to let go of my finger! I let her finish eating the piece of meat, but never picked up this particular mantis again. I have never again held any other mantis who was as aggressive as she was. And, a picture of this particular female mantis is on my profile page in my praying mantis album.
For the last few years, it seems like there are fewer and fewer praying mantises around here. It is probably because the city I live in has grown a lot and the suburbs are increasing each year. I haven't even seen any mantises outside of my yard for about 8 years now, though I constantly am looking for them
As a result, I decided about 6 years ago, that I would buy 3 praying mantis egg cases each year and I would release the 1st instar nymphs in my yard. This way, I hoped to try and increase the praying mantis numbers in my area. Unfortunately, I fear most were eaten by lizards and other animals in my yard, for in the last two years, I have only seen an adult female Carolina Mantis on my porch door, and last year, a 2nd instar nymph on a bush next to my porch. But, this pretty well fits in with the laws of nature, for generally only 1 in 100 young animals of any species survive to adulthood. And, I intend to keep ordering more egg cases each Spring, and I'll keep hoping that I will see some praying mantises in my yard each year!
As an adult, I have managed to raise one 1st instar nymph to adulthood. At first, I fed it fruit flies and other tiny flies and insects that I caught at my night light outside of my back door each night. And, as it got bigger, I caught larger insects for it plus I also fed it mealworm larvae. It took 6 weeks to finally molt into it's adult stage, and I then released it in my yard. Unfortunately, I didn't take any photographs of this experience, but should I ever decide to raise a baby mantis again, I will photograph it as it grows.
I still love praying mantises and I will try to hold them whenever I can!