It is well known that the Praying Mantis is a very effective killer indeed, and a voracious feeder as well. Mantises are known to feed mainly on arthropods (invertebrate animals), frogs, and small lizards.
But zoologists are now stunned after discovering that these amazing insects do not balk at killing small birds to eat their brains, if given half the chance.
Mantises are rapacious, if largely opportunistic predators. They lay in wait and hunt by catching prey that is unfortunate enough to wander close to their ambush site. The mantis grabs its prey and holds onto it with its strong, serrated forelegs. Then, it feeds, slowly and methodically, until there’s nothing left.
Now, a recent zoological study has revealed that larger mantises are bold enough to kill small birds and devour their brains, usually while the victim is still alive, a la Hannibal Lecter.
Such behavior has been detected worldwide, and zoologists have observed that hummingbirds are the prey of choice, though 24 different aviary species have been documented to be on the mantises’ menu.
The insects have learned to ambush hummingbirds coming to hanging feeders. The mantis will perch itself on the feeder and simply wait until a hummingbird gets within striking range. Then, it leaps forward, grabs the bird, and eats its brain, usually gaining access to the juicy stuff through the eye cavity.
This behavior, while seemingly cruel, it’s just another facet in the short but intense life of a Praying Mantis. They live for about a year in the wild, and while they do, they engage in sexual cannibalism, eat birds’ brains, and scare the hell out of people.
A full life indeed.