A praying mantis has been given a new lease of life in Cornwall after surviving a miraculous six week journey in a container from Israel.
Issy, as she’s been called by her new carers, was discovered last Wednesday in a shipment of fine aluminium sheeting on plastic pallets at Redruth-based company Curver UK.
Warehouse operative Chris Clarke described his “shock” at the rare find as he was unpacking the load.
“I turned the pallet over and a green small object in the gaps caught my eye,” he explained.
“After finding a plastic container we helped the mantis into it and warmed it up in the office and offered it water.”
The company then contacted the team at Duchy College, Rosewarne, part of The Cornwall College Group, which has experience of looking after stowaways at its exotic animal house, including Leek the frog who arrived in a shipment of leeks five years ago.
It is thought the female Giant African Mantis could have been in transit for up to six weeks from Israel and has miraculously survived the journey.
This species of mantis is native to West Africa, but has been introduced to areas in Israel and Spain where they are now thriving.
Lucy Bennetts, Head Technician at Duchy College, Rosewarne said “as soon as we got the call on Wednesday afternoon we went straight over to help her, how she is still alive I am not sure”.
“For the first couple of days was very weak,” Lucy continued.
“The employees at Curver UK had taken great care of her and tried to find her food and looked after her until we collected her. We are now seeing how she gets on and hoping she survives the winter with us.”
Issy has started to eat and is taking water, so everyone at the College is hopeful she will make a full recovery.
Praying mantises only live for around a year and with Issy being a mature female, Lucy and her team are keeping her warm, fed and comfortable for the foreseeable future.
“Today she has really perked up and seems to be happy living in a heated enclosure on some live plants, provided with live food such as crickets and locusts,” Lucy explained.
Carol Knight, head of campus at the College said the team were “thrilled to be able to help”.
“Having exotic animals, reptiles and insects at Duchy College, Rosewarne, is great for our animal management students as it gives them first-hand experience of species they might not usually get to spend time with,” she continued.
“Situations like this demonstrate why it is important to have the knowledge and skill with which to care with all types of animals, a valuable lesson for our students.”
For more information on the range of courses available through Duchy College visit www.duchy.ac.uk or call 0330 123 4784.