Mr. Nature: Hatching Praying Mantises

Jambo! Mr. Nature here, with more of God’s stuff–and a safari that you can stage at home, indoors.

When I was a little boy, I found what I thought was a butterfly cocoon. I brought it indoors and put it in my lizards’ aquarium, to keep it warm and so I could see the butterfly hatch out. Imagine my surprise when, instead of a nice big butterfly, a million of these little critters came marching out of the egg case–baby praying mantises. The lizards didn’t eat them; they seemed alarmed. I had to move them to another tank. The next day I took the tankful of mantises to school for show-and-tell, and then let them go in my mother’s garden.

You wouldn’t believe how many tiny mantises come out of just one egg case! My wife had this same experience when she was a little girl, and it freaked her out–her mother, too.

But don’t be scared. Each and every one of those little bugs is a potential warrior for your garden, and will grow up to be an insatiable predator of harmful insects that want to eat your plants.

On its own small scale, a praying mantis hatch is awesome to behold. But don’t keep them so warm that they hatch out while it’s still winter. And have a care for your lizards’ peace of mind.


8 comments on “Mr. Nature: Hatching Praying Mantises

  1. Unbelievable, all the many experiences you have had with wildlife. I would never have thought of doing anything like that. I did enjoy watching baby birds hatch in nests on posts beside the garden, and catching lightening bugs in the yard on summer nights, but not too much more.

  2. Lee, I have just read the most compassionate thing ever! You warn us to be sensitive to the lizard’s peace of mind. WOW!

    1. Y’know, they were just little pet-store chameleons. They could be fierce and bold at need–but not when confronted with the unexpected and unknown. The hatching mantises really made them nervous.

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