Today I pulled peanuts in the garden. They are really a legume (bean family) and wonderful for revitalizing garden soil! Not to mention all the animals love them, as do we. While carrying a load to the yard to remove the peanuts, I felt something grab my hand! I droped my plant load and screamed, causing my husband to take off running to my aid. Here is what I saw;
It was a praying mantis! I love these creatures, but they can bite. They are a wonderful garden predator, eating all those insects and worms that destroy your precious plants. They get their name from the way they hold their front legs, looking as if they are praying. This presented a wonderful opportunity to teach our children a nature lesson, so we discussed the food chain, how these creatures impact their environment, and what habits they have. The boys were especially interested in the fact that the female praying mantis will eat the male, and that the babies would eat each other if hatched in a confined space.
Considering this one was at least 5- or 6-inches long, we got a good look at it!
Later, I was in the house with our younger son on our way to clean up and we passed by the counter, on which sat a plate with a few okra. He stopped and looked at it (we had not had any okra yet this summer) and with a funny look on his face, asked “Mom, is that green stuff praying mantis legs?” The look of relief on his face when I told him “no” was priceless! I guess that speaks for what my family thinks of the meals I serve them!