Fun Fact: Praying Mantises are Native to Wisconsin

Welcome back my friends to the Grazing Daisy! It’s story time!

So a couple months ago, back when I was still in cross country and running everyday, I was on a run. It was later in the evening so the sun was starting to go down, and it was a nice temperature out, not too hot or cold. By the time I reached my turning around point to start heading back, it was almost dark and the critters were starting to come out.

First thing I see is a toad, I lean down and pick it up. I run with said toad for about 20 seconds until I spot an even larger toad. I stop to trade them, but to my shock I see an enormous frog! It wasn’t even moving so I was afraid it was dead, it didn’t even move when I poked it at first. Well this is the point where I was going to trade my toad for this frog however, it didn’t happen like that.

I see this frog right, I’m about to grab it when I notice something next to it. At first my heart jumps with joy because I think it’s a tiny lizard. Let me remind you that it was dark outside, and it was getting hard to see. I get down on my hands and knees to inspect this long, skinny, peculiar looking thing. After further inspection I concluded it was an insect. It took me a second to make the connection that it was a praying mantis but, when I did my heart was doing more leaps for joy! Despite living in Wisconsin for 11 years I have never once seen, or heard that mantises were native to Wisconsin.

Image from reddit.com

I scooped the thin little bug into my cupped hands. This is where I was wondering how I was going to bring this mantis home without it escaping. I had to carry it in my hands because I was afraid that it was so fragile that it would be crushed inside of my pockets. So I started walking with this little bug, however I was at the half way point on a 3 mile run. Which, if you are good at math, you know equates to 1 1/2 miles left to go. Not to mention it’s getting darker and my parents would wonder what happened to me. So I awkwardly try to jog while having my two hands cupped in front of me holding the mantis. It was just big enough that I had to keep my hands cupped open, otherwise it could get crushed.

Well my friends, if you have ever tried to run, while carrying a bug in your hands you know, that it is both difficult to run, and the bug will probably escape(has anyone else done this, or is it just me?). I was running at a record low pace, and stopping every 2 minutes in order to pick up the praying mantis after it jumped out of my hands. I was determined to bring it home and put it in one of my empty 10 gallon tanks. I have lots of mealworms so I figured that he would even be easy to feed.

Yep, when that mantis realized that jumping wasn’t doing anything for it, he decided to do a full jump using his wings and instead of landing on the sidewalk where he was visible he jumped onto someone’s lawn where a green bug is virtually invisible in the dark. I tried for a couple seconds to locate him, but I instead had to reluctantly give up and continue home. I made it a full 3/4 of a mile with that mantis, it was for sure one of the most frustrating things I’ve ever done on a run.

In the end, I didn’t get a pet mantis. I did however, get a funny story to tell you, as well as the knowledge that praying mantises are native to Wisconsin. Now I know to look out for them in my garden, and I guess when I’m out on a run!

Image from uwm.edu

Interesting Praying Mantis facts:

  • They have great vision
  • Their green thin bodies make it easy for them to camoflage
  • They eat live prey
  • They can jump with extreme precision
  • The ones in Wisconsin can only live 4-8 weeks, but larger species can live up to 6 months!

Well, I hope you learned something new today! Maybe you learned for the first time that Mantises are native to Wisconsin, even if you don’t live here, now you know! Thanks for reading and I’ll have another post for you very soon!


3 thoughts on “Fun Fact: Praying Mantises are Native to Wisconsin”

  1. I live in Wisconsin, and once when I was at a city park with my friends, one of my friend caught a little praying mantis (she found it in the grass and almost stepped on it) and she named it Green Bean before she let it go!

    Liked by 1 person

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