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Mantis rescue Center au Moulin

August 25, 2007

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Chers Amis,

I am sure that you all have seen TV programs about animal rescue centers where baby squirrels, raccoons, or even orangutans are bottle fed by volunteers until they are old enough to be returned to the wild.  Chez nous, it is Mantid recovery central.  Friday afternoon while I was frantically trying to do ‘Super Saturday morning Clean-up) a day early so we could go camping, Scarlett gave me the bad news.  A praying mantis was stuck in the upper left hand corner of our living room window between the glass and the exterior screen.  Worse yet, the region was fraught with danger – spider webs hanging with empty invertebrate remains looming on both sides.  What could we possibly do?  The old fashioned windows are stiff and would never open far enough for us to reach ‘Her.’  I could sense tears welling up in Scarlett.  We have more weeping over wildlife here. . .

Luckily, I knew this window well.  It is the window most likely to slip down from the top and let winter winds swirl through le salon so I was a hero to a few little girls when I unlatched the lock and slid the frame down a few inches from the top.  Caddie balanced precariously on our ancient swivel rocker and scooped into her hands.  The praying mantis was so thin.  Usually they have nice plump abdomens but this one was almost frail.  The girls took her outdoors to examine in the sunlight and I returned to my vacuuming.   Vroom, vroom, buzz, buzz.  "Oh, drat there is that pesky fly that was dive bombing my sandwich at lunch.  Gosh I hate those things," I thought. "Where is the fly swatter when I need it?  I guess I could just suck it up with the …" I stopped. "Or, we could try giving it to our guest!  Nature study trumps house work every time.  Girls!

Caddie, our resident fly catcher, made swift work of subduing the fly.  We dug out an old su100_1632n tea container and tried putting the two creatures together.  Nada.  The mantis was just too weak to catch the fly, however stunned. Caddie decided to take things into her own hands, literally. This picture is quite blurry, but if you zoom in you will see Caddie cradling the mantis in one hand and holding the fly to its mouth!  The mantis devoured her meal in only a minute or two before running up Caddie’s arm quite revived. You can see her at the top of the post.  Since we were going out of town for a few days the girls did not try to keep her and placed her in my herb garden and poured a little bowl of water for her in case she was thirsty.  We may not have a large rescue operation at the mill, but it was just the right size for one lucky mantis.  Sorry, spiders!

–Marjorie

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 26, 2007 12:29 am

    I just discovered your blog a day ago. Very nice! Even though I’m sorry to say I speak no French… Well, only a few cooking terms 🙂
    Anyway, this story of the mantis is incredible and I thank you for sharing it. Tell your girls that was an awesome rescue.

  2. August 27, 2007 11:06 am

    Hurray for the Mantis Rescue Society! Good job, girls!

  3. August 28, 2007 1:45 am

    Amazing story. Love the hand-feeding picture.

  4. September 7, 2007 10:40 pm

    What a wonderful rescue mission! And, I find it amazing that the mantis ate while your daughter was holding it. Great job to all invovled!

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