Happy Halloween, Zombies and Other Predators!

At long last I’ve found a Praying Mantis in my garden. My sons tell me they’ve seen others, but this is the first I’ve personally encountered in the yard and likewise documented. Nothing counts until I get a picture of it, even if others have been around for years!

Praying Mantises are notorious for being fierce predators — cannibalistic ones at that. Beware the nearby sibling or mate — it might become a fast snack. If you are in the mood for horror this Halloween, explore the many images of Praying Mantises offered at Environmental Graffiti. They gave even me the willies.

Praying Mantises really should be as iconic as pumpkins, spiders, zombies, and ghosts when it comes to Halloween. They are fast and sneaky and downright horrific in their voraciousness, the way they pierce and decapitate their prey and gnaw on body parts. And FYI, I draw the line at letting one near my hummingbird feeders.

Here’s another predator, this one in our family. Much like a Praying Mantis, he eats everything, though unlike the insect version, he has yet to eat his sibling. In this photo he’s about to bravely enter a zombie fallout zone…

where lurking zombies chased him over haystacks, through mud pits, and across ponds as he ran for his life. Thankfully he did not become a zombie himself, arriving to safety with life intact. Good thing he was well fueled ahead of time, eating as much as he does.

Zombies, as you know, will accept a variety of body parts, but they show a particular preference for brains. Point being, my son eats everything, but Zombies don’t.

Here at home, our garden protects us from Zombies, and we have a sign to prove it. But every once in a while a Zombie might sneak past….This is the predator who ate the finger off the Zombie hand that lurked in our fruit bowl. Now it’s even more of a Zombie hand.

In this pond lurks the Unknown Predator, the creature that ducks just out of sight every time I try to catch a glimpse, no matter how stealthily I approach. It just rustles plants to show me it’s there, flaunting the fact that it is sneakier than I am. It’s not the Creature from the Black Lagoon, though — I retain that status. Perhaps it’s the Swamp Monster, or Nessie, or Godzilla. Or Jaws.

How about a nice creepy spider image for Halloween?

I almost walked right into that feast. I ducked just in time.

At least Dragonflies always look like they are smiling at you. Just before they eat you.

Happy Halloween, garden predators, zombies, and everyone else!

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