There’s the partridge in the pear tree, and then there’s the praying mantis in the Christmas tree.
A hundred of them, in fact. They arrived in the home of Molly Kreuze in an egg case nestled among the branches. By the time the 12 days of Christmas had wound up to the 12 drummers drumming, there were many more times that number of praying mantises roaming around her house.
“Bugs,” Kreuze told WJLA in Washington D.C. “Crawling on the walls, crawling on the ceilings. Just kind of … moving.”
The insects are beloved by many and considered a sign of good luck in some cultures, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, but perhaps Kreuze got too much of a good thing. To her credit, she hasn’t killed them. The veterinarian is scooping them into shoe boxes, storing them in a plastic bin and feeding them fruit flies as she seeks an organic gardener who might want to seed his or her vegetable plot with the insect-devouring creatures.
“I want to find them a home,” she told the TV station.
Ideally that would happen before they reach their full length of up to six inches.
The egg-case-in-the-Christmas-tree trick has apparently been tried before. In 2017 one Daniel Reed posted a photo online of a walnut-sized and shaped egg mass, warning that it could contain 100-200 praying mantis eggs, reported People.