My Sons’ Pet


[our praying mantis feeding on a moth]

My boys have a very cool pet
It is a 3 inch long male praying mantis
Their dad found it at our doorstep on Malcolm’s 7th birthday
Since then he has been telling his friends in school about his very cool birthday present from his dad

The boys are very excited about the praying mantis
The little one squeals with delight just looking at it

We got him a house and my older boy was eager to feed him food
He thought it must love leaves, since its look-alike, the grasshopper is a leaf lover
Me, who was as clueless thought it was a good guess until some internet research revealed that praying mantis are not herbivores

In fact, they are voracious meat eaters that prey on other insects such as mosquitoes, flies, moths, butterflies, spiders and crickets
They prefer their meals alive and kicking, and will not touch dead insects
This has since become our daily woe and challenge – to find live food for our pet

In the beginning we managed to catch some cockroaches around the house to feed it

Its daily diet consists of live cockroaches, moths, and butterflies
But the moth and butterfly supply seemed to be dwindling by the day

This meant that the primary choice of meat were the cockroaches that seemed to be creeping out of every corner in the house

Well, I hate cockroaches
But somehow being a mother and knowing that there is a starving pet waiting to be fed brought out the courageous side of me
And hunting live cockroaches around the house has become part of my daily routine

Instead of screaming hysterically when I see a cockroach, I would think, “Ah…food”, and instinctively reach for the fishing net (I bought it to aid me in my hunting endeavours)
Crawling on all fours, I would catch the creepy crawler and drop it for the eagerly waiting praying mantis

Catching live cockroaches has got to be one of my biggest achievements at 38 years of age
Seriously, no kidding


[our praying mantis feeding on a cockroach]

Although fascinating, the praying mantis does have a rather cruel way of feeding

After gripping its prey with its lightning fast front claws, it will bite the prey’s neck to paralyze it before eating
Very often, we see it tear off and chew parts of its preys’ body even while they continue struggling

It can be quite devastating and traumatizing for a child to watch a beautiful butterfly devoured by a ferocious predator

We took the opportunity to explain to Malcolm how this is necessary to maintain nature’s balance

Through this pet, he learned about the food chain, the natural order of things and the importance of maintaining this delicate natural balance.

It’s really cool how much we learned through this little creature

Now, we have a little problem at hand
We will be traveling in a few days’ time and if left alone, the praying mantis will most likely be dead by the time we come home

We are contemplating whether to leave the arduous task of catching insects to our elderly parents or just let the praying mantis return to the wild

I am thinking of the latter

..

….

If so, my boys will go through another valuable lesson about letting go

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5 comments

  1. Jolene says:

    Didi reminds me a lot of Thaddeus. The chubby cheeks and the cheeky face. Hopefully he’s not as bad tempered and demanding as Thaddeus. I can foresee a huge discipline headache in my very near future….

  2. malmal says:

    hey Jolene, I think is the year of the ox thingy..stubborn and hot tempered…we share the same woes…is already a challenge to discipline him now…

  3. Janet says:

    ha.. my little Ox is also a real challenge to me !
    BTW, I noted the shoes that your litte one wears.. what brand is that? Where can I get it ? it sure look comfy. 🙂 i am trying to find a good pair for my little one. Thanks !

    • rachel says:

      hey janet, the brand for the shoes is bubblegum…I got it from Taka at the shoe section in their children’s department. Apparently Bata carries the same brand…very comfy and soft and the little one loves it….oh and it is not very expensive…I think I paid abt SGD 29 for it

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