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The Praying Mantis Incident

Praying MantisI found a praying mantis in my backyard last week and took some pictures, fascinated by its size and a head that turns 180 degrees, but it was still kind of pretty except for all those tiny razor blades on its front legs. But as big as it was, it moved slowly so I had no fear… not until the “incident.” After I took my pictures, I stayed in the backyard for an hour or so, then went inside and cooked dinner.

After dinner my husband went out with some friends and I drove to the mall. It was dark. As I was pulling in to a parking spot, I felt something on my left hand, grabbing my finger and biting or sticking me with something. I panicked because it was dark and I couldn’t see what it was. I shook my left hand but I still couldn’t see what it was. A spider? A scorpion? I jumped out of the car while it was still running and the interior light came on and I saw it… a praying mantis on my steering wheel. And it was huge! I didn’t know what to do.

I grabbed a kleenex from my purse but he looked bigger than the kleenex. I knew I had to act. I was trying to work up my nerve to grab him with the tissue when he suddenly dropped to the floor where there was no light. I ran around to get a flashlight out of my glove box, came back and shone the light but he was gone. But where?  Somewhere in my car. Even if I found him I wouldn’t know what to do. Maybe it was time to sell the car.

I called my husband and said I will not get back in the car so he came and let me drive his car home and he drove mine (my hero ❤️). Once in our garage with lots of light, he was unable to find the intruder. I cut some leaves off a shrub and placed them inside my car overnight hoping it would coax him out but the next morning he was still missing. Maybe he got out? Maybe he’s waiting for me to drive again so he can crawl on the back of my neck while I’m on the freeway. Click these pictures I found online to get a good look!

For the next couple of days we kept checking with flashlights and we never saw him. I was too scared to drive anywhere. By the third day we still didn’t see him but we did hear something… a scratching noise coming from inside the air conditioning vent right by the steering wheel. (It’s coming from inside the car!) The good news: We found him. The bad news: He can’t get out. He’s been there for days. Or maybe he CAN get out and is just resting. What if he crawls out while I’m driving? We took the car to three mechanics who said there’s nothing they can do without taking the whole dashboard apart so I should just let him die in there. I looked up how long a praying mantis can live without food – TWO WEEKS!

He must have hitched a ride on me when I was outside. But why didn’t he go after my salad? I spent ten minutes making a salad, and then ten minutes eating it. Where was he then? On my back? He must have been on me for two hours while I cooked and ate dinner, cleaned up the kitchen, and drove to the mall. I would like to go out today but it’s hot and I would need to run the air conditioning. What if he tries to get out while I’m driving and see I those bulging zombie eyes looking at me through the vent? I’d like to sell the car, with a praying mantis discount of course. Otherwise, to drive I need to arm myself… maybe drive with a fly swatter or an oven glove or a box of cats! 😺

10 Responses

  1. Jeanne says:

    Jenny – What a cute and interesting story. I can truly understand how that little bugger would have terrified you. Like you, I would have been so scared to drive that car again. You captured a great picture of your bug eyed tormentor. Lol. Jeanne

  2. Bruce says:

    One of the most beautifully designed creatures in nature … and yes, they are protected, and a natural predator of bugs we really don’t like … if you had one as a passenger for a while, you’re lucky … not many people have that thrill … take heart, grasshopper, the mantis is your friend

  3. Corky says:

    Jenny my husband and I found your YouTube videos.
    We were like we know her were do we recognize her from?
    I came across some of the clips from the “Jenny Jones” show and I showed to my husband, in excitement he cheers out “Told You” yeah that’s her!!! He says she’s a good person!!!!

  4. Corky says:

    I was a young girl in elementary school in Kansas.
    The teacher had the classroom windows open and a Praying Mantis lands on my back another girl spotted it & screamed when she said what was going on I screamed “Get it Off Me”!!!!!!
    Well the teacher came over to me I thought she was going to rescue me. “No!!!! She uses the bug on my back as a teaching lesson. I’m crying my eyes out asking her to get him off of me!!! She tells me quit crying he’s not going to hurt you!!¡ longest science class I’ve ever been in!!!
    The students laughed at for days because of her leaving it on my back!!!!

  5. Jean says:

    that’s so funny!

  6. Susan Winters Smith says:

    Hilarious story. They are creepy creatures, but are wonderful for gardens, eating tons of bugs, hence worth protecting.They have thousands of babies, and watching them hatch and crawl out of the egg is a spine-chilling phenomenon. You can order an egg and put it in your garden so you can have thousands of them. They are everywhere, but creepily elusive. Here in Connecticut they are the state bug and seriously protected. It is illegal to capture one. Good you didn’t bring your car to CT. I bet you didn’t even know states had state bugs. A child once brought one to school to show and tell and the staff freaked out. The school security guard escorted the child and the cage outside to a hidden location and the creature was released. I won’t even go into what the female does to her mate.

  7. Becky Taylor says:

    OMG I hate those things!!! AND geckos!!! They are too creepy!
    I’m thinking you should just trade the car. LOL!!

  8. MrsNews says:

    I think if you spray RAID in the vent it won’t take 2 weeks…..just saying

    BTW was I the only one that noticed the word HUSBAND???

    I have missed you my friend, I love when you post.


  9. Nancy Wolhar says:

    So sorry for you to have experienced such a worrisome fate. There used to be some rule that they protected our environment and we were not to kill them. That was then and now we don’t see them much anymore. Perhaps the heat has kept them away or nobody believes anymore that they are worth protecting.

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