I posted recently (here) about finding the exoskeleton of a praying mantis after it had molted. It’s possible the mantis in this photo is the one that shed that skin, since I saw it in the same vicinity.
This mantis was stationed where a wall meets a ceiling and it was staring straight down that wall at me. I like this photo because I think it captures the mantis’s rather piercing stare.
A couple of days before I took this photo, another mantis, slightly bigger than this one, was perched on a Pepsi machine in the same vicinity. It was watching me as I went back and forth. Eventually, when I paused, it leapt onto my head. I reached up and encouraged it onto my hand, where it paused a moment before scampering up my arm. So I interposed my other hand, which it duly climbed onto. Cue the mantis then scampering up that arm. We did this little dance a few times before I managed to maneuver the mantis onto a deck rail. It perched there a while and then eventually flew off.
I guess I’m in a praying mantis purple patch.