Eat. Pray. Loathe.

The entire universe in blog form
Sept. 11 2010 7:06 AM

Eat. Pray. Loathe.

So I'm sitting at my desk and looking at people's pictures from Dragon*Con when I feel an itch on my leg. Huh. Feels like my cat is down there rubbing against me. I look down, but my cat's not there. What the...? So I take a closer look, bending over to peer at my leg, and realize

a 7-centimeter-long praying mantis is perched on my calf, clinging to the hairs.

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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OK. I did what any reasonable adult would do: I shake my leg violently and suppress myself from screaming like a little girl. The mantis falls off, and then looks up at me. It's not happy.

Ever had a praying mantis glare at you? It will haunt my dreams.

Anyway, it crawled up onto my shelf, so I took this picture just in time for Caturday.

[Click to atomically THEMinate.]

I have a very healthy respect for praying mantises. Many years ago I either picked one up or it landed on my hand or something. I looked down at it in amazement, and without even flinching it used its front leg like a frakking nutcracker and squeezed my index finger. I bled like something from a horror movie. Those knives it carries under its arms are sharp.

I'll admit, this guy was little and actually cute. I also have no doubt that it would emotionlessly and methodically eat me in my entirety after first tearing me apart cell by cell.

And the worst part? I know that for the next three days every itch I have will be a phantom mantis. Mocking me.