A praying mantis lurks on a hummingbird feeder, watching carefully as a hummingbird hovers near the sugary water. With one quick motion, the mantis grabs at the hummingbird—and misses. Pictures of these incidents, like the one above, show mantids improbably dangling from feeders with bloodied hummers at the end of their claws. Then, they start eating the innards. Below, we breakdown how these insects attack large prey, and how to keep your backyard hummingbirds safe. What's the size difference between the average mantis and the average hummingbird?
The Chinese mantis Tenodera sinensis is a species of mantis native to Asia and the nearby islands. In this species was accidentally introduced by a nurseryperson at Mt. Airy near Philadelphia , United States. Tenodera sinensis feeds primarily on other insects, though adult females sometimes catch small vertebrates.
I had no idea that you could tell based on the egg sack. I will pay more attention now - I definitely have found the Chinese ones in my garden. Now I need to look harder to see if I can find the Carolina ones too. That egg case does look familiar Until now I had never known that the larger mantids are a species from China.
This might surprise you, but a praying mantis can indeed kill and eat a hummingbird. Only large mantises around 4 inches long have the capacity to catch a hummingbird, though. But, if a mantis is hungry and a hummingbird comes into its range, it will likely strike out with its strong forearms and catch the little bird. Especially if the mantis is sitting in wait on low hanging foliage near the feeder.