We get lots of Praying Mantis around the yard every year. These guys get pretty big around late summer / fall. This particular one is probably a female about ready to lay her eggs. We enjoy looking for her and holding her, but she is incredibly difficult to spot, even when she's just a few inches away.
These big ones are easy to handle, it's the small ones that are jumpy and flighty. The big ones rely on camouflage and tend to just stay still on your hand. You just need to give them a small amount of encouragement, and they will climb onto you and stay pretty still. Despite their looks, they are harmless.... to us anyway, and are very fragile, so shouldn't be grabbed by any part of their body. My boy loves them, and I love showing him the ropes and sharing my love of insects.
Speaking of Mantis. Last year, we found this amazing sight on the same rose plant. This is something that I've only seen on TV and had never witness it in person. When I found them, the male had already lost his head and thorax, including the two grasping front legs. But he still held on with his remaining back legs. He held on for the remainder of the day, and I like to think that this ultimate sacrifice made it possible for some of his offspring to survive, maybe even became the big one that we played with today :)
|two mantis, one head|
|lost half of his body, but still holding on tight|