I captured a wonderful shot of a praying mantis on my Mexican Sunflowers but managed to delete the photo. It was the kind of mistake anyone can make when they forget to reformat the compact flash card. Except that most people are smarter than me. It’s a wonder that society allows me to roam freely without a keeper.
A few days later, I was back out at the Mexican Sunflower with my clippers to deadhead the spent blooms. Lo and behold, there was the praying mantis again. Or maybe it was his cousin. I didn’t care. All I wanted was his mug shot.
I trotted back to the house for the camera and returned to the bush. This time around, he was a lot higher on the bush so I was shooting above eye level.
I didn’t like the roof rafters and sky background and thought about moving him. “What if he bites?” I wondered. I’ll tell you why I wondered.
The day before, in an attempt to identify my dragonflies, I had acquired a library book on Florida’s Fabulous Insects. It was one of those 12 x 7 books with gigantic photos showing the microscopic details of bugs. The kind of book that makes you don your garden gloves just to turn the page. Each page reducing you to shuddering fits and silent screaming. In that book, I had seen shark teeth on the legs of the praying mantis so I had good reason to wonder how painful a bug bite he might deliver.
I tromped off to the garage to borrow Poppie’s leather gloves but, as luck would have it, Poppie was there and I talked him into moving the praying mantis. Poppie moved the praying mantis with bare hands and went back to what he was doing. He missed all the fists and legs that praying mantis shook at me. I’ll bet you have never seen a praying mantis that was spittin’ mad, have you? Neither had I.
After waiting for him to simmer down, I got this shot for you.