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Fates Unknown

I was weeding, “edging” by hand the encroaching grass around the fig tree at my mom’s place, when a toad hopped out from where I was working. I paused. It paused. Toads have that stillness thing down pretty good. I was about two feet above it, watching it.

I noticed it was watching a praying mantis. A little one. Brown. Small. Minding its own business. Maybe even contemplating which of the nearby tasty bugs it might want to soon eat. I like praying mantises. Well I don’t love that they eat humming bird brains, but, other than that, they’re great to have around. Pretty much anything that eats bugs is a good thing to have around.

I also like toads. They also eat bugs. Probably more than the praying mantises do, given their size, but that’s a guess.

So, there I was, watching two much-appreciated bug eaters — the mantis and the toad — knowing if I saved the mantis, the toad went without its meal of the moment. So, even though I wanted to cause a disruption or move the praying mantis out of Harm’s way, I let them be. A minute or two I popped back over to see if there had been any change in status. Nothing so far. The toad, still unmoving as a rock. The praying mantis still looking around at the wonderful world of bugs and probably thinking happy praying mantis thoughts.

Then I checked back four or five minutes later. No toad. No praying mantis.

My guess? The toad had a snack. Maybe the mantis got away. Maybe it didn’t. Don’t know. Their fates are unknown to me. Nor were they mine to make.

In other news, any else been noticing a LOT more toads than usual this year in the DMV area?


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