Praying Mantis Catching Hummingbirds [Video]

A praying mantis can catch, kill, and eat an entire hummingbird. No, really. You’re about to see some amazing video evidence.

With the spring migration well underway, people across the country are starting to put up and fill their hummingbird feeders to greet their returning hummingbirds. If you’re wondering if it’s time, it’s probably past time if you live in the south or the west. In fact, those of us who live on the Gulf Coast do just as well to leave the feeders up all year-round.

If you live in the northeast half of the country, you can check out this handy-dandy spring 2013 ruby-throated hummingbird map to decide if you want to go ahead and set out the sweet stuff.

Most die-hard hummingbird hobbyists already know the basics. Don’t use artificial sweetener. Don’t leave old, fermenting sugar water out there to get your hummingbirds drunk and giddy. And, if you want to avoid the constant scuffles between those highly aggressive little mini-birds, then put up more than one feeder.

Bees and wasps, who love sugar water as much as hummingbirds do, are a well-known nuisance. Most of us deal with them by having one feeder, well away from the rest, that we allow the stinging insects to use. Apparently, they learn which feeders are theirs and which feeders result in being chased by angry humans and furious hummingbirds alike.

However, until I got this tweet today from the Audubon Society, I can’t say that I ever tossed and turned at night wondering if a praying mantis would try to catch one of my hummingbirds:

Say what?

I would have said that the entire hummingbird family, gram for gram, was by far the most aggressive group of animals on the entire planet — and that does include grizzly bears and bad-tempered man-eating tigers.

I wouldn’t have thought that a praying mantis would prove much of a threat. However, after I poked around a little more, I found more evidence that the praying mantis is indeed lurking with evil intent. This one has a kill:

Yikes. Lesson learned. Do not, under any circumstance, humor a praying mantis by allowing it to remain on a hummingbird feeder.

[hummingbird photo courtesy Everafter Images via Creative Commons]

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