Friendship with a praying mantis

Our first encounter

She fell in the pool. Actually, she just wanted a sip. It hasn’t rained for months because this is a hot and dry summer. I’m spending my vacation here. In order to cool myself, I often stay at the small swimming pool
that belongs to our accommodation

Since I cannot move much due to an accident, it is most comfortable for me there. The pool seems to be known in the insect world as a reliable source of water.

All imaginable species can be observed there

At night even snakes come down the mountain to drink. Numerous bats also roam there for nightly refreshment. Also the cats, dogs and various birds of the village drink here in the twilight. The pool is a real meeting place. I think it’s been rumoured among all the animals above the wooded mountain that you can find refreshment here.

The accident

I was in the water and watched a praying mantis – Latin Mantis Religiosa and Insect of the Year 2017 – as she bent down from the edge of the pool to drink. Just as she was about to take a refreshing sip from the pool, my daughter took a header into the water, causing waves. A Mantis Religiosa tsunami, actually.

Plop – it had happened – a wave hit the praying mantis. She fell into the water and threatened to drown, only to be sucked into the water purification system. A watery grave in which numerous insects died.

Although she herself is a merciless huntress and even has no scruples to consume her own husband after the sexual act – I felt pity and saved her. To be on the safe side, I put the top of my bikini on, because I didn’t want to take it on my hand at that time.

Her little face looked thoughtful

I set her down at the edge of the pool and watched from the water what she did after the rescue. Again and again she rubbed her face with her arms, rubbed her antennae together
– made dislocations to dry herself and shook herself

She was completely occupied with repair work. You could clearly see that the water weighed them down and made them unable to move. Suddenly she stopped. It looked as if – after the first shock – she was thinking about what had just happened to her.

She behaved very quietly and her eyes obviously tried to catch me. An attempt that must have been a little difficult for her, considering our different body sizes. The moment she looked into my face, with which I was looking over the edge of the pool, she went through a shock. Just then, when we looked deep into each other’s eyes, she shrugged violently and flew away at the same moment, towards the forest. I’m sure she realized that she was facing at least one creature as strange as herself face to face.

She’ll be back the next day

Pity – I thought so. She was interesting to look at, a bit like a tiny alien. Very entertaining for me, because most of the time I have to take care of my leg and I cannot move. The next day – I was sitting on a chair in the shade – by the pool, something tickled my back. I feared it might be a wasp and was about to scare it away with my sun hat when I discovered the praying mantis on the back of a chair behind my back. She tapped me on the back with her long feelers from there and felt me up. Did she come back?

A slayer at work

I see her every day and recognize her by a small dot on her left wing. I enjoy watching your daily work. She is an excellent hunter – hunts and kills other
insects, even wasps, and then eats them with pleasure. After her meals she cleans her little face extensively with her long arms. Such sumptuous meals apparently make praying mantises thirsty as well. That is why I always put a small plate of water on which she can drink without danger. Amazing – how much water fits into a praying mantis.

A strange kind of friendship I feel for her

Before she jumps any further, she tilts her head and looks at my face. Hopefully I have now collected karma points with this rescue operation and will not be reborn as the husband of a Mantis Religiosa. Because I find that rather unpleasant.

I’m glad I’m female and the bigger one of us. It is much easier to feel friendship when you cannot be eaten by your girlfriend.

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