'It scared the heck out of me': West Kelowna woman captures praying mantis, black widow fight on camera | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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'It scared the heck out of me': West Kelowna woman captures praying mantis, black widow fight on camera

Varina Stone didn't know what to expect when a black widow attacked her praying mantis.
September 07, 2019 - 6:00 AM

WEST KELOWNA - When Varina Stone took in a praying mantis, she anticipated that her new pet would attack and often eat other insects.

But, when the West Kelowna woman saw a mantis being attacked by a black widow in her basement, she expected a far different outcome.

“I saw her (the mantis) down on the bottom of my sliding door. I went to pick her up and put her by the light so she could get some bugs, and all of a sudden a black widow came shooting out and started anchoring her leg down,” Stone said, noting that she was catching bugs for her mantises when she noticed the attack. “It scared the heck out of me when it came shooting out.”

Stone backed away from the poisonous spider and reached for the camera. A six-minute video posted to Stone’s YouTube channel Sunday, Sept. 2 depicts the harrowing battle.

“I was worried for the mantis, but next thing I knew she grabbed the black widow and started to eat her,” Stone said. “I was betting on the spider and praying for the mantis, and the mantis won.”

A relatively new mantis owner, Stone said she was unaware that praying mantis preyed on black widows. According to praying-mantis.org, the insects feed on crickets, grasshoppers, spiders, butterflies, beetles and other mantises. They are also known to attack and feed on hummingbirds.

Stone said she caught the mantises in her yard and kept them as pets for a few weeks. Following the release of the video, Stone said the mantises have been released back into her yard.

As surprising as the encounter itself, Stone said she was astonished by how much attention her video has garnered. By Friday afternoon, Stone estimated that the video had been viewed more than 20,000 times.

“It’s mind-blowing how much attention it’s gotten. I never could have imagined,” Stone said. “I think maybe because it’s such a rare and unusual thing to see.”

Stone said, after witnessing the fight, she plans to get more mantises as pets.

“I have a new love and appreciation of the praying mantis."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Parker Crook or call (250) 864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © iNFOnews, 2019

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