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May 30, 2007


Yesterday this blog's daughter, Sophie, came home from school with a live praying mantis. It was in a baby-food jar with some dirt and leaves, and holes punched in the lid. All the kids got them from the science teacher (Thanks, Science Teacher!) who told them they should feed their mantises fruit flies. Sophie named her mantis "Preci," which is short for "Preciosa," because what else are you going to name a creature that looks like this?
So we spent the evening trying to find fruit flies for Preci. Here in South Florida, it is usually very easy to find insect life. Just examine your leg, or look in your food, and there will almost always be some kind of bug crawling around. But of course last night there were no insects anywhere, and Sophie was worried that Preci would starve to death. So I went outside and took down a light-fixture covering,  which was filled with dead bugs, which we gave to Preci, who responded with a look of heartfelt mantis gratitude:


This is going to be a rewarding pet experience.


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Ah, the joys of parenthood.

Next P-T conference you have my permission to give the teacher a stern look. (I was going to say 'smack her' but as the spouse of a former teacher I know that would Be Wrong.)

Be sure to add Preci as a dependent when you file your income tax.

Could you have Preci stand next to an everyday object (Walter would do) so we can get a sense of her actual size?

If she's big enough, we got some cool locusts emerging here, and we'd be happy to send her some. As it is, we're forced to watch every Perky News Team in Chicago demonstrate how to serve them to actual people.

Woooohooooo..... Dave's (daughter's) very own pet Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwdrey. At least we know she's in good hands until next season.

Awwww. Isn't it so.... It's a bug. I got nothin'.

This is another classic case of some misguided individual inflicting unnecessary trauma on a poor defenseless ceature under the pretext of education.

when he was in high school, a bio. teacher gave insomniac jr. , a corn snake which we had for several years, though kurt (for cobain) is no longer with us...

unless you want to warp her permanently, don't get preci a mate...

you are so missing a valuable opportunity to start sophie's education. you need to find a male mantis. this will both feed preci, entertain the whole family, AND, provide important sex information. really. trust me on this.

This is another classic case of some misguided individual inflicting unnecessary trauma on a poor defenseless ceature under the pretext of education.

Posted by: (Sweet home) Al Obama | 09:21 AM on May 30, 2007

kind of like algegra!

CG, I was thinking the same thing. Female mantiseses (manti?) bite the head off the male mantis after mating. Now that would be worth the price of admission right there!

Give it a mufflehead!

Better yet, give it a mate and watch it eat the other one's head off after mating. YAY!!! Fun and educational!!!

**snork** @ cg.

I pity that poor Science Teacher when it's time for evaluations. Hm. You don't suppose he's been sacked and this is a final act of revenge, do you?

Well, dang, stupid pesky clients, who do they think they are that they can just call me and ask me questions about their cases? I'm busy trying to be funny here and while answering questions, about 3 people beat me to the head eating point. (New meaning the "head"?)

I meant new meaning to giving head.

Oh my gosh. They gave Sophie my ex-wife for a science project.

sick minds think alike

Well, my day is complete. I have managed to be offensive and feel deeply ashamed of myself. I'll go to the corner now.

Do they eat lovebugs?

What is it with kids and critters? My mini-me brings home anything and everything that breathes, eats, and poops.

I did convince her to release "Snickers the Snake" back into the wild before it croaked. TG for small miracles!

Good luck, Dave. I'll be looking forward to your next column on the efficiency of our education system. :)

Awe! Freaking cute. Preci! The trouble comes when you try to explain about praying mantis heaven, when Preci inevitably bites the big fruit fly. At least it prays, so you know it's going to heaven. That would be a good talking point. Goldfish are so much easier. Just one flush and the rats have lunch.

Welcome, Obama! Glad to have a new face on the crew. Play nice and put your toys away when you're done. (NSFW)

Oh, and NEVER forget to hover. ;-)

Especially on Annie's links.

*sits in the naughty corner with casey*

Awe! Freaking cute. Preci! The trouble comes when you try to explain about praying mantis heaven, when Preci inevitably bites the big fruit fly. At least it prays, so you know it's going to heaven. That would be a good talking point. Goldfish are so much easier. Just one flush and the rats have lunch.

Thanks DeskDiva, my mom taught me to always clean up after myself, and I've been lurking for some time and I'm fully aware of Annie and Stevie laying linking landmines all over the blog.

Mornin' all!! Preci is precious in a eeeekie kinda way!

What WE did when my girls were little is "hatch" or "birth" or whatever it is that butterflies do, from cocoons to butterflies and then release them to die live out the remainder of their short lives.

It was bewwwwwwwwtiful!

Sounds to me like a prison-break is in order. Then Preci can find its own fruit flies.

*joins casey in the corner just cuz she's ma friend!*

CYE Suz!

My daughter came running in the house one afternoon, heading straight for her room. She had a look of pure joy on her face and something cupped in her freshly dirty hands. My alarm bells started going off loudly, so I called out, "Hey, princess, what have you got there?"

As she disappeared in her room, I heard her call out happily, "Ants!"

casey, I did ;-)

*cannot wait*!!! (will respond shortly)

hmm ok...back on topic!!

Hammie, did ya have ants in yer pants the rest of the day??

*Waves @ Siouxie and rest of naughty corner occupants!!*

i filled my sister's suitcase with fire ants before she left for spring break once. it was no where near as fun as the snake in her room.

*Waves @ Hammie back*!

*checks for ants*

I'm a little squeamish but my girls always wanted/had critters like this--ah, the memories. "Daniel" was a popular name for such visitors. Up north, we have to buy live food (crickets) in the pet store, for a mantis or those green anole lizards. You're so lucky in Florida, where you can just run outside and scoop up a lizard anytime you feel like it!

I just got back from the land of wood ticks, so any insect that doesn't crawl up my leg and suck blood looks pretty benign to me. (insert ex-wife joke here)

* Pauses to chug bottle of Lyme disease vaccine *

P.S. to Mr. Blog the Mantis Wrangler -- got any ripe bananas around, or even just the peel? Leave it in Preci's (presumably enclosed) home and she'll soon have fresh meat.

tinkerbell, I don't think "lucky" is what florida residents think of when they think of lizzards.

I like the love-bug idea and padraig is right, but the easiest thing would be your (or a neighbor's) fallen citrus. Also, a larger container, placed outside, with 'hardware cloth' (wide mesh screen) over the top and some rotting citrus within would bring in the fruit flies.

I thought praying mantises were one of the things it was against the law to have - some protective status or other... At any rate, good luck with the little guy or gal, as the case may be. How do you know it's (not its) a she, BTW? Or do I (or Sophie) want to know?

Um, got any of that Edringer left, Dave?

*Hic!* I meant Erdinger.

That Mantis looks so familiar.

Is Preci's middle name Audrey?

Preci feamles decapitate and devour the male precis after mating. You may want to wait until Sophie is 17 before you tell her this.

Precis also like aphids, a lot. You will find these in your salad right next to the fruit flies.


Dave, you have SO captured the look of heartfelt mantis gratitude. This is art at its finest!

Awww, I love doing stuff like this. Dave, mantids will eat almost anything. if it moves, they'll eat it. Fruit flies? What a waste. Find some crickets or little grasshoppers or box elder bugs... then you're in for a show!

Al -
I'm not clear: is Dave the aforementioned "defenseless creature" suffering trauma??

dont get toooo friendly. the females bite the heads off of male suitors. wouldnt want you to give the wrong impression....

Good foto, Dave ... is that your new/best version of the crapcam, or did you merely scan the Mantis Trading Card file ... merely curious ...

(TRADING CARD INFO: Preci is having a good season so far. She lives in a comfortable dwelling found in the home of a young human girl named Sophie. Preci likes aphids, crickets, fruit flies and ants, but is not fond of uncles ... Omar, or otherwise ...)

*waves at Hammie from the naughty corner. drags him into it where he belongs*

Geez, Dave, just get poor Sophie a puppy, would ya?

Just be glad Preci came home this time of the year. When I was Sophie's age, the mantis came home in the fall. Did you know they lay eggs then? And that the egg sacs are supposed to hatch in December, by which time they will be back in the science room at school? And that your mother can get up one morning in October and find several hundred midget manti trying to find food in the kitchen, or trying to escape out the windows to do so? And that cats get sick from eating too many mini-manti?

Many Mini-Manti wbagnfa ... um ... Midget band?

SNORK at EWC and OtheU (which makes it harder to try to pronounce "Many Mini-Manti").

When my kids were small, they found a Preci of their own.

We had recently acquired some hermit crabs, and in order to "play outside" with the hermit crabs (who usually lived indoors in the empty fish aquarium -- the goldfish having died the year before, shortly after another mom gave FISH away at a kindergarten birthday party as GOODY BAGS ), my kids made use of a tadpole habitat .

Still with me?

OK, so we owned a tadpole habitat. Why? Because MOTY (Mother-of-the-Year, Yours Truly) thought, the Christmas before, that watching tadpoles turn into frogs would be SUCH an educational and fun activity for the kids in winter. Except that once the habitat arrived, it had a COUPON for tadpoles that could only be used in the spring or summer months where we live, so as to prevent tadpoles from being delivered in the freezing weather and turning into tadpop-sicles on one's front doorstep in January. Also, frogs eat crickets, which one apparently must purchase from a pet store on a continuous basis , if one intends to feed thm more than once or twice in their lifetime. Yeah, crickets. Not happening.

Still with me?

So, we had an unused tadpole habitat, and nothing to put in it. So that's where the hermit crabs came in. Lovely little creatures they were. But they didn't like the tadpole habitat too much, and showed their dissatisfaction primarily by dying. So the hermit crabs were moved into the unused 10-gallon fish tank , heater lamps were purchased, and all was well. Several repurchases of hermit crabs later, summer arrived, and the tadpole habitat became a little portable playpen for them outside.

Until our very own Preci came along! Our praying mantis was beautiful, just like Preci. And hungry, too! So the kids put Preci in the tadpole habitat, and spent the afternoon looking for flies, and crickets, and pill bugs , and...

Still with me?

The moral of the story is:

Don't leave an enclosed tadpole habitat in the sun. Praying mantises do explode .

That is all.



That is all.

That's bug is Zorak, Spaceghost's enemy. Don't y'all know yore villans around here?!

Miss T

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