You’ve heard of therapy dogs, right? Well, two weeks ago Kieran and I caught half a dozen praying mantises in Briones Regional Park. On the way home, we stopped by my father’s nursing home in El Sobrante and introduced him to some of the insects. He had a great time and laughed harder than I remember him laughing in years. Therapy dogs require the right temperament and years of training to be certified. But these Mantis religiosa were ready to provide tickling and therapy right away, with no training! Could this be a new business venture?
Kieran has sharp eyes, and spots many insects in the tall, dry grass.
Praying mantises are quite curious, and will crawl over your hand and fingers if you hold them like the branches of a bush.
Though all the same species, M. religiosa, some are green and others are brown, like this one, which perfectly matches the tall, dry grass.
Here’s yet another green one. We captured six that day.
Our Michelangelo mantis moment, when Kieran introduces his grandfather to a “therapy bug.”
Dad thought this unique experience was hilarious.
When I was a boy, my father often took me out to catch critters. Now’s my chance to return the favor.
Next up — a brown one, who turned out to be much more lively!
It headed right up for my dad’s ear, tickling him and making him laugh and laugh!
Then it headed up the pillow.
Yet another therapy insect at work! We should get some little vests for them to wear!
A peaceful moment.