Mantis update update

Hoppy gets his first taste of freedom. He likes it. He likes it a lot.

Since posting the splendid news about Brownie’s new wings, one of the other mantises, Gimpy, has shuffled off his mortal coil and joined the choir invisible. Gimpy, the reader will guess, had a bum leg for the last month or so of his life and frankly I’m surprised he made it as far as he did. But his death sort of pressed the issue of a mantis’s normal life span and what we, as responsible pet owners, should do now.

Brownie and Hoppy both seemed still sturdy and curious about life, so we have decided to roll the dice and hope that one is a male and the other a female, and have let them go forth into the garden, just like Adam and Eve (except in Santa Monica) to live out the rest of their lives in natural suburban splendor.

We had a little ceremony where we took the lids off their Critter-Keepers and let them roam around on the patio table. Sam and Kit called out words of encouragement like “Make a nice big egg sac, and bring back hundreds of baby mantises in the Spring!” and “I love you Hoppy! Have a good life!” I felt like singing “Born Free” but it probably would have made everyone cry. We wanted to take pictures but the camera battery was dead after a long wedding reception the day yesterday (the wedding was for some humans we know, not mantises).

After delivering our exhortations to Brownie and Hoppy on what we hope to be their wedding day, we carried them over into the bushes and put them well into the brush to keep them from getting eaten by birds. Brownie didn’t seem too keen to go, but then a moth fluttered by and, no joke, she charged off after it like a cheetah gunning for an antelope.

Take care, Brownie! Go get ’em, Hoppy!

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7 Responses to “Mantis update update”
  1. dougo says:

    Are you working on a screenplay for Mantisez?

  2. mr_noy says:

    Mantisez in the Hood. Cuz it’s a mantis eat mantis world out there.

  3. randymonki says:

    You know, if Brownie and Hoppy are both male, they’re going to be pretty confused right about now.

    “SO…uh…how do we make an egg sac?”

  4. teamwak says:

    Born Free moment!


    I have been living vicariously through your mantises. I dont know what I will do know they have gone back to the wild. Perhaps Virginia McKenna can help me set up some sort of foundation?

    I fear the giant millipede will be a pale substitute!

  5. Anonymous says:


    Love your pictures and narrative! I too wish them long, happy lives. FYI, female mantises are the big ones. They tend to eat their mates after mating, though. But maybe boy mantises consider it a great honor or they’re horny enough not to care. Mantises ARE very very cool, even though their mating customs don’t match ours. Thanks for sharing the happy story! And you’ll have fewer landscape-ruining pests in your yard with your two ferocious predators out there.

    • Todd says:

      Re: romantises

      It’s my understanding that:

      1. Girl mantises do not always eat their mates after coupling. This is a myth begun by 19th-century researchers who were working with too small a data pool. Modern research shows that girl mantises only eat their mates 60% of the time. Which are still not great numbers from the boy’s point of view, but still.

      2. Mantises mate when they’re about to die anyway, and the girl mantis needs to bulk up for the big final swing to egg-laying, which is why bug-people think they eat the boys. It’s not like the boy mantises would mate and then go on to write the Great American Novel — they would most likely hobble around for a few days and then keel over.