HomeOutdoorsViralWATCH: Massive Praying Mantis Takes Down Hummingbird in Shocking Clip

WATCH: Massive Praying Mantis Takes Down Hummingbird in Shocking Clip

by Lauren Boisvert
(Photo by Patti Cearley/Getty Images)

In this episode of nature’s snuff film, it’s time to watch a hummingbird get taken out by a huge praying mantis. In the video, courtesy of Nature is Metal on Instagram, a hummingbird is in the clutches of a praying mantis hanging upside-down from a plant stem.

The hummingbird is clearly in the throes of death as the video is being filmed. Nature is Metal posed the question, “Would you rob the mantis to save the [hummingbird] OR would you let the chips fall where they may?” It’s interesting to see an insect take the life of a bird in this case. Usually, it’s the other way around. If faced with a hummingbird with a praying mantis in its clutches, would you intervene and save the insect’s life?

Not to turn this simple nature video into a moral dilemma, but most people wouldn’t rescue the insect from the bird. So why are people inclined to save the bird from the insect?

Well, because this huge praying mantis is most likely an invasive species. The Chinese mantis can grow giant by mantis standards—about five inches—where native Carolina mantises only grow to about three inches. The Chinese mantis is harmful to flourishing ecosystems because it doesn’t discriminate about what it eats. It will eat anything, including hummingbirds.

Chinese mantises compete with Carolina mantises for food, depleting the smaller insect’s food sources. They also have no qualms about snacking on the smaller mantises, either, as mantises are known to be cannibalistic. But, the Chinese mantis is aggressive and invasive, and actually destroys delicate environments. Pet and garden stores actually sell these insects as pest control, which aids in the destruction they cause.

The Chinese Mantis and You: What To Do About This Highly Invasive Species

There are two invasive species of mantis in North America: the huge Chinese mantis and the European mantis. Both are equally aggressive and predatory toward other insects, small reptiles, and hummingbirds.

The Carolina mantis, however, is native to North America and highly beneficial to gardens. If you see a mantis in your garden, most likely it’s a Chinese mantis, as they greatly outnumber and overpower the Carolina.

So, what do you do if you have invasive mantises? It’s important to destroy the invasive species before they can take over your garden. That means going to the source. Female mantises lay eggs in late summer to fall, covering the eggs in a substance that hardens and forms what’s called an ootheca. It’s basically a pod of mantis eggs on a leaf or branch.

The biggest difference between these mantises is in their ootheca. The Carolina ootheca are long and slender, but have darker brown striping. The European ootheca are almost solid brown with no striping. In comparison, the Chinese mantis ootheca is round or cube-shaped with a puffier texture. It’s also much larger.

Invasive ootheca can be destroyed by crushing, or cutting them open and submerging them in water. If you have chickens or lizards, the ootheca also makes a good snack.