Strolling down the beach road off Mass Audubon’s Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary, we caught sight of a praying mantis crossing in front of us. Its sand colored topside with greenish head and wings blended perfectly with the beach sand roadway and we would have missed the critter entirely if it hadn’t been startled by our presence and darted for the dense abutting vegetation. From the deserted, post-summer look of things along this stretch of Dartmouth beach, the praying mantis prettry much had the road to itself and expected no two-legged or four-wheeled creatures to intrude on its constant hunt for tasty treats among the lush salt marsh vegetation.
Praying Mantis at Allen’s Pond Wildlife Sanctuary
Despite its surprise, the praying mantis tolerated our intrusion … for the moment … as Sue scooped it from the road for a closer inspection. It settled in her hand, assessed us as no threat, posed a bit for the camera and walked around her palm to assess these goofy humans who had stopped to make its acquaintance.
Meet the Praying Mantis
As the camera came in for a closeup, its patience with our interruption ended … or the praying mantis saw this shiny silver object as a potential tasty meal. Whatever sparked its interest, the mantis went into full attack mode, first boxing with the camera as though a sparring partner, and then pouncing for the pin like a WWF wrestler.
Praying Mantis Attacks Camera
Once placed back on the ground, the praying mantis went about its business as though we had never existed, finding a perfectly camouflaged stalking spot on the stem of a golden rod, holding itself in seeming suspended animation as the stiff September breeze tossed the leaves to and fro, and waited … for some unsuspecting prey to stumble by or perhaps another pair of foolish humans to amuse and then abuse.