Amanda the Mantis

It is so important that parents show their kids how to love and embrace nature.  I recently heard a senior at the college I work at speak of this.  It all seems pretty obvious to me, but I guess we have to have a name for everything these days.  He said it’s called nature deficit disorder and it suggests that people, especially children, that are not exposed to nature are more likely to wind up with health issues such as obesity, depression, ADD, etc.  Either they don’t have access to nature, are becoming caught up with the computer/tv screen, and/or their parents project onto their children to fear nature.

This reminds me of an experience I had while helping my boss collect frogs to identify deformities.  We had buckets (literally buckets) of frogs to identify, measure, and identify.  One of the sites happened to be by a popular beach and there were tons of kids that, upon spying our buckets and nets, ran over to see what we had.  One girl smiled down at our bucket o’ frogs and asked if she could name one.  We were delighted, but then a mother happened over.  The mother proclaimed an, “ew, can I hire you guys to come and get rid of all the frogs from my property?”  Stay away evil mother!


Thankfully, my mother was better than that.

I believe I was perhaps of middle school age and one late fall, we found a praying mantis on our screen door.  We decided to take it in as a pet, as they do not survive the winter.  It lived in an aquarium and we fed it insects I collected until it got too cold and we had to purchase crickets.  Her consumption of daddy long legs was quite a fun process.  First, she would eat the center, the delicious juicy body.  The spider legs would fall like crumbs and continue to twitch and squirm on the aquarium floor.  Sometimes, she would eat a leg or two, slurping it like a piece of spaghetti.

Occasionally, we would take her out of the aquarium and let her walk up and down our arms and along our hands.  This was always rather amusing and exciting.

She was Amanda the mantis and she lived for many months with us.  Thank you Mom for helping me avoid nature deficit disorder.

Obligatory mantis photo: