I had thought about catching the Praying Mantis, but I decided to let her be, at least for the time being. I thought she may just be traveling through, seeking a suitable spot to lay her eggs, as I saw she had a swelling abdomen.
About 3 days went by, and everyday the Praying Mantis was still there, in the same spot. On the third day, it was quite a frigid day. I took a small ventilated enclosure that I had, mostly for housing crickets for my lizards, and went outside to take a closer look at her. She was frozen in place and not moving at all. I had thought perhaps the wind chill had frozen her and that I was too late. I carefully and delicately nudged her into the enclosure, and went to gather leaves, sticks and other household items for her new home. Once she was inside and warmed up, she began moving around, climbing up on the sticks, feeling her away around the new place. She was fascinating to watch. Right away, I knew I wanted her name to be "Zora". I wanted a female version of the name "Zorak", a favorite character of mine who also happened to be a Praying Mantis (with an awesome voice). "Zora" came to mind, and it also made me think "The Legend of Zora".
While I studied this fascinating creature, I noticed she began to silently teach me. I had looked up Praying Mantis as a spirit animal, which reflected calm, quiet, meditation, and many other things that this animal can represent. This is what the Praying Mantis has taught me:
The world is a fast-paced environment. Everyone is on the go, moving faster, stressing at every moment. Always having to do more, jumping in without thinking. The Praying Mantis is slow & thoughtful, thinking about every move. Sometimes, she doesn't even move, until she has carefully crafted out her plan and what she will do next. Take the time to slow down, and take in what's around you. Think out your next move carefully.
While seeming to have very little, Zora seemed quite content and comfortable. She had a warm place, food to eat, water to drink, and fun things to climb on. For doing very little, she also seemed very active. Every time I looked over after a while, she was in a new spot, taking in everything. Be content with what you have. They're all gifts & treasures. Every day that you're alive is a new gift. Be thankful, and don't take things for granted.
Zora loved to climb. She was always walking back & forth on her twigs, reaching up as high as she could to reach the top so she could be upside-down. Sometimes it was hard for her. She kept reaching up, trying to find the right footing. While she climbed, it reminded me of rock climbing- holding on tight while trying to figure out where to put your foot next so you can climb even higher. Zora was an excellent climber. However, she had no harness, so if she lost her grip she would fall back down. But I noticed she was strong. She popped her head right back up, and started climbing again. She was tenacious, she never gave up, she kept trying.
To check in on Zora, I would wave my finger at her. She always noticed, as she pulled back just slightly to be cautious. Sometimes, I would get close to the enclosure to get a better look, and she would turn her head and look directly at me. Praying Mantises can turn their head a full 180 degrees, and she always used it to her advantage. She was always alert & aware. Be aware of the world around you, there's a lot to take in.
As many of you probably know, Praying Mantises catch their prey by waiting. They wait for something delicious to pass by, then they quickly snatch it up. They aren't fast with lots of weapons, they only use their forearms to grasp their prey very quickly. So they eat by being stealthy, and very very patient. I watched Zora after I put a couple of crickets in her enclosure. She should usually turn and see the cricket, then climb down to a spot where she could maneuver freely. She watched the cricket very carefully, and would slowly get herself in a pouncing position. Then she would wait. Patiently. Watching her prize, planning out the perfect attack. It took time and patience. When she seized her prey, she was almost always on target. Be patient. It pays off.
The Legend of Zora will live on.