Praying Mantis Vs Hummingbird

Praying Mantis Vs Hummingbird

  • Image: Image via gearfuse

    Hummingbirds are fast and hardly stand still, a fact that protects them from many a predator. Unfortunately for them, however, not from the praying mantis, which is a study in patience. We’ve found one that’s waited 24 hours by a bird feeder before zeroing in on the unlucky hummer that came too close. One snatch, and the bird is no more, dangling upside down, waiting to be devoured by the hungry mantis which will eat for a while.

  • Image: Judi Cox

    The praying mantis taking position on top of the hummingbird feeder:

    The mantis is not only a study in patience but also speed. After waiting for hours, it can grab its prey – like birds, snakes, small lizards and even rodents – in one swift move.

  • Image: Robert E. Barber, used with permission

    Sizing up the prey…

    As we will see, the hummingbird didn’t really stand a chance.

  • Image: Richard L. Walkup

    Through the chest with one leg…

    Richard L. Walkup, whose son found the praying mantis by the hummingbird feeder, says of the grisly experience: “This hungry mantis captured and killed a hummingbird not much smaller than itself. The mantis used its spiny left foreleg to impale the hummingbird through the chest while leaving his right leg free.”

  • Image: Richard L. Walkup

    …and then taking a chunky bite while dangling upside down

    “We surmised that the mantis ran the hummer through and dangled its full weight on its foreleg while he consumed the flesh of the hummingbird from the abdomen. After he had his fill, the mantis gave his foreleg several swift jerks and freed his leg,” recalls photographer Richard Walkup.

  • Image: rustyclark

    In this shot, the praying mantis is holding the hummingbird with both forelegs while taking a hearty bite. Don’t miss the yellowjacket trying to get a piece of the action.

  • Image: Sids1

    But grandmother, why do you have such strong legs?

    At the end of the day, it’s business as usual and the mantis is looking for its next victim.

  • Image: British Museum of Natural History

    For those who believe in moving images more than pics, here’s the same scene in videos. This first video has great background music and captured a praying mantis waiting for 24 hours by the hummingbird feeder.

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Simone Preuss
Simone Preuss
Scribol Staff