Category Archives: Animals

Cat Scan

We took a cat scan today.

Nimitz helped.

Happy Birthday, Nimitz!

Nimitz is a year old today. Honestly, we had our doubts we'd all make it...

Your Word for the Day

Charismatic Megafauna.


Enter the Mantis

Three weeks ago, we got a praying mantis.

I’ve been seeing mantiiiii everywhere this summer; on trees, steps, stoops, and stumps.  “What an awesome bug,”  I’d think every time I saw one.  “Thanks,” it would think back, tilting its tiny head.  How to take my enthusiasm for the critter to the next level?

It turns out Megan had considered getting a mantis as a pet back in the dorms, and had done some research.  You can get a real fancy mantis online for about $30, and it’ll look like an orchid or a violin or something.  Pretty cool– but how far out of my way did I want to go to get one of these creatures.

It turns out I only had to open the front door.  I went out to do some errands a few weekends ago and a sweet kelly-green mantis with a copper belly was hanging out on the wall next to our door, poaching flies out of a spider’s web.  I went back in to check with the missus; and we got a spare glass aquarium ready to go.  I scooted the little mantis inside; she fluttered around in short hops before I eventually pinched her gently around the middle and was able to put her in the tank.  Later that day, we got her some dirt, twigs, and a water dish,  and her mantis pad was complete.

We tossed a number of names back and forth, but Barbacoa* was the one that finally stuck, for reasons I can’t explain.

So now we have a mantis!  We fed her mealworms for the first few days, and while we never saw her eat them, they would disappear.  But then the refrigerated mealworms started looking less and less appetizing, as the weeks went on.  Luckily, mantises have another favorite natural prey: cat food.

We put a little bit of cat food on the end of a toothpick.  Once it gets close to her face, she snatches the toothpick (she’s strong enough to almost yank it out of your fingers) and scours it clean with her awesome four-parted mouth.  The jury’s still out on whether she prefers  Chicken & Herring or Turkey & Salmon.

She’s a beast, and she’s a delight to have around.  More pictures, updates, and delightful tales to follow!

*The exotically named spicy beef at Chipotle.

Happy Birthday, Lilit!

Note the paws gripping the knee for dear life. If she holds on tight enough, the hat might go away...

Ben indulged my whims today in a major way, which is one of many reasons why he is so wonderful. See, Lilit turned 14 today (I think — I know it’s some time in April, and a few years back, I picked an arbitrary day because, well, she won’t know the difference).

I asked Ben if we could make her a birthday cake, which we did. He got out some of the ground pork to defrost while I was at work, and when I got home, we mixed it with some matzo meal (good breadcrumb replacement), put it in a mini cake pan, and baked it. It came out looking sort of like a hamburger, only with a lovely caramelized top. And Ben asked for party hats, so I made party hats for the three of us. Lilit was less than pleased with her party hat, but the cake pretty much made up for it. She liked that part.