Monday, April 25, 2011

Trapped in Silken Thread

I'd not been home long, a few minutes at most. I walked across the kitchen to place a bag on my old wooden desk, only to come into view with the unthinkable.

A torturous scene.

It's a humid, wet season, which brings all sorts of four, five & six legged creatures into my house.  Some are more appealing than others, but I've gotten used to them and have even adopted some as flatmates. One in particular, my friend the Praying Mantis. I know it's the same one, I see him lurking about the place. He watches me from the tops of doors, hangs around the cubby holes of my printer's tray, sneaks about on the cupboards & shelves. I even saw him downstairs, climbing exploratively around my creams and oils. He saw me, and stopped to cock his head; his little felas waving about. 

"Well, hello." I said, almost waiting for him to reply. I'm certain I saw him blink.

So I was rather distressed when I came across this scene... two spiders had created a web between one another... hanging in the middle of which was my Mantis friend, all bundled up in a white sticky thread, his legs bent & buckled, his head tucked in an unnatural way, his face hidden from view. I dropped everything and immediately cut him loose, but the task ahead was not an easy one.

But, I'm a determined woman.

I lightly touched him to find him squirm, and at that set to work. With my fingernail I attempted to gently scrape the web away, bit by bit, and far too aware that my gentle work was not gentle enough. Each pull could easily break this little man in pieces, or worse, tear off his limbs, while his head coiled in pain. 

I managed to free his legs at the back, but the front two were still bent, buckled and covered in the viscous gummy thread.

I could hardly bare it.

Finding some nail scissors on my bedside table, I brought him into the window light to perform my operation. Painstakingly, I made light movements with the tips in the gaps of his legs, to try to cut the web away. Astonishingly, it started to come away as if I was pulling off a sweater. He seemed to wince and squirm, while my stomach churned and my heart cried. 

I held my breath and over his head it went...


He was over the moon. Heavens above, wouldn't you be? His legs just went for it, scrambling up my hand, then reaching out to scramble onto something else. He almost behaved as if he was blind, in a frenzy, wanting to climb higher and higher... 

He stopped to turn to look at me. And I am certain he thanked me. I felt it. I told him he was very brave and how wonderful it was he was free and saved! Taking him outside I put him on the bougainvillea to sneak and lurk in peace.

I was a hero for a day.


  1. Bravo!!! What a tale...I was on the edge of my seat!!

  2. :) Wonderful happy end! I'm so glad you saved the poor guy. You are brave!!

  3. What a terrific story. Well done, Louise! I'd have done--or tried to do--the same thing. You ARE a hero, and the spiders can just find themselves something else to eat. Friends don't let friends become somebody else's dinner! Take THAT, Nature-Red-In-Tooth-and-Claw! I am sure there is much rejoicing in the Mantis Camp today, and that they honor their noble friend, Louise.


  4. oh my... I was hang on every word with anxiety of what was going to happen to your little friend... this is the most heroic tale ever.. bravo little guy! I am so glad there was a happy ending!

    I do find it a bit disturbing • how intelligent those little fellows look at you • studying your every move • quite disturbing indeed....

  5. Just gorgeous... a "sitting on the edge of your seat" tale with a happy ending!! Love the photograph too!!

  6. Beautiful loving story!! :)

  7. You're a lovely one aren't you and doesn't the blog look nice with the three little pictures!

  8. Thank you all for your lovely comments. I think Mr. Mantis has long gone on an adventure, he's likely found it's safer out in the wilderness than in my daddy-long-legs clad house.:)

  9. I love Praying Mantises... fascinating little creatures, with their head turning and studying you... like some aliens. It's great you saved it just in time, it would have been a real pity to have such a tragic shameful end... I'm surprised it wasn't the other way around, cause I know Praying Mantises eat spiders. I guess it's because they were two of them and they ganged up to premeditate the murder. All is well when ends well.


I love to read your comments & thoughts!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...