Mavis the Mantis


I have a very large Praying Mantis I just named Mavis on my front door.  She has been there for a week now.  She is five inches long, apparently has a visual radius of 360 degrees, and has my whole family scared to use the front door or go on the front porch.

My mother, who has an uncanny knack for getting “in my head” has made me feel bad for the creature – made me consider bringing her inside and making her a little shoebox home – but my husband is firmly against such an idea.  He believes that we will look in there and she’ll be gone, and then we’ll wake up with her on our face.

Today, I was thinking that she hasn’t really appeared to have the strength to go for food and water, although she has changed her position several times.  I drenched a paper towel in water and put some pomegranate arils on it.  By the way, WTF is up with pomegranate arils?  I will never buy them again, they are the weirdest thing I’ve ever eaten.  I saw a coworker with a pomegranate the other day, and I’d never seen one before, so I asked her about it, and she said, “They’re too much work, you wouldn’t want to bother.”  Of course, when people make such assumptions, I must challenge them, so I bought the arils, which were what she seemed to be digging out.  Turns out she’s right, if the arils are all there is, then, no, I don’t want to bother.

Excited to see if she had eaten any of the arils, she’s the first thing I look for when pulling in the driveway.  What she appears to be doing is trying to get to the bugs that are circling the outside light, but she can’t get there.  She’s like a senile old lady, leaning back on her back legs and swooping at the air with her spiky front legs.  So, I go out there and I try to help her out – I push the cornstalks diagonally to give her a ramp to get to the bugs, and I nearly put my hand on an Ohio tarantula.  I hope she eats him.  Then I notice that she’s reacting to my movements even though her back is to me – so I see her little eyeballs are able to fully rotate.  I’ve looked into her face so many times over the past week – I think maybe these bugs are small versions of aliens – sent down to see if the planet is worth the trip.

When I was in grad school in Ithaca, I saw a male praying mantis in my driveway, and I got down to get a good look at him – he ATTACKED me – flew in my face and was like trying to  scratch me with his spikes – I’ll never forget that.  However, he was maybe 1/4 her size.  If she attacks me I’ll really freak out, like I may need to be sedated freak out.

My husband wants to toss her into the woods so I’ll stop obsessing over her and offering her food.  But thanks to my mom (in West Virginia) and my cousin (in Florida) I feel an obligation to this extra-terrestrial gigantic carnivorous insect that can apparently kill black widows and snakes.  Why she has chosen my front door as her roost I don’t know, but I’ll let those corn stalks sit there until Christmas because now I’m convinced they’re infested with big furry brown spiders.  They came from this weird roadside stand – the lady was so mean and bitter and rotten I wouldn’t be surprised if she threw an egg sac of tarantulas in them.

Anyway, I looked out there prior to bath time for my kids, and she had fallen into the paper towel but wanted nothing to do with the pomegranate arils.  She’s probably like what the heck are these things?!?  As I’m preparing to go to bed, she has roosted on a cornstalk, and I hope she’ll get herself dinner.  There is a dead fly in the dog’s water and I considered putting it with the arils, but then I’m like, “REALLY?!!”

Goodnight, Mavis.  If you’d like to vanish in the night and head for West Virginia, I’d be much obliged.

One thought on “Mavis the Mantis

  1. Knowing your Mother if Mavis treks to West Virginia she would get a box with 3 or 4 rooms in it. Of course a 4 poster bed and bathtub included! If Mavis is a little old lady, a walker will probably also be designed. I am envisioning Mavis hitchhiking her way to your Mother’s!! lol

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