My wife, Julie, routinely takes her camera outside with her to take photographs and/or videos of flowers and birds. Every once in a while, she comes up with something even more amazing.

A couple of weeks ago she came into the house and hollered, "Bob, come here!" She couldn't wait to get to the living room to show me what she'd just captured. After seeing the videos she'd shot, I understood why.

When I started watching the first video, all I saw was a bumble bee flying around... a very common sight next to our patio that's surrounded by flowers. But then, I saw it. A praying mantis, blending perfectly into a flowering wild impatiens. Turns out, the praying mantis was on the hunt for that bumble bee:


Do you suppose that the bumble bee fully appreciated how close it came to the end of its life right there?

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After watching the video I thought the praying mantis was probably lucky it didn't catch the bumble bee. Wrong. A little research shows me that praying mantis commonly hunt things much larger than themselves... lizards, frogs, and even small birds. They have no venom, so they eat their prey alive. What a way to go. Praying mantis, which gets their name because the front legs can make it appear they're praying, can grow up to six inches long and live up to a year.

Julie also captured a close-up view of the praying mantis cleaning itself. Just look at those eyes when it looks toward the camera. It's like something straight out of an alien spaceship. Praying mantis have five eyes. The other three are smaller and are located between the long antennas near the top of their head. You can see them in the photo at the top of this story.

If you encounter a praying mantis, never fear. They won't harm humans. Here are some other incredible facts about these very creepy-looking creatures:

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