Praying mantises are a wonder to behold. That is, if you only go by their deceptively peaceful "prayer" pose. The seamier truth is that praying mantises are sly, ruthless predators that can eat everything from small insects to mice and frogs.
Let's take a gander at some rather freaky poses from this creature that, without hardly trying, can display an evil side. Don't be fooled by its bulging, alien-looking eyes: the praying mantis has none of "E.T.'s" charm, and it could never build a radio to call its friends in outer space.
The praying mantis has a neat trick that other insects just haven't figured out: the ability to swivel its head 180 degrees to see behind it.
Female praying mantises, in addition to knowing how to look evil, aren't above eating their mates after the deed is done.
In warmer climates, praying mantis eggs spend the winter hanging out in a cocoon-like sac attached to twigs or plant stems. When spring arrives hundred of tiny mantises will be ready to take on the world.
Those tiny, newly minted baby praying mantises get started right away in the ways of evil. If there's nothing else good to eat, they will eat their new siblings.
The state of Connecticut has made the praying mantis its State Insect. They don't scare easily in the Northeast, apparently.
Praying mantises will live for about one year in the wild.
They can see as far away as about 60 feet and, as befits their alien bearing, their outsized eyes contain some 10,000 receptors.
Insects are the staple of its diet, but larger species of praying mantis have been known to dine on fish, rodents and even scorpions, just to name a few of the bigger critters they will eat.
Praying mantises catch their prey using those once-prayerful forelegs, which have razor-like points on their insides.