Eat. Pray. Loathe.
Eat. Pray. Loathe.
Bad Astronomy
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.

OK. I did what any reasonable adult would do: I shake my leg violently and suppress myself from screaming like a little kid. 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.


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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