dear god: the mantis shrimp

I first encountered this aquatic monstrosity at Dave’s Soda and Pet City in Northampton, Mass (note: the Northampton branch does not contain soda–it has an Agway, instead). Apparently you can buy these, and keep them in your home, though they most commonly occur as marine aquarium pests.

This is the one of the few videos around that shows the species encountered at Dave’s–most feature the more flambouyant Peacock Mantis. ¬†I have no idea how the above dude gets away with all his fingers, as the mantis shrimp is known colloquially as the “thumb-splitter”. Their claws (“raptorial appendages”, sporting nasty spikes or calcified clubs, depending on the species) can easily damage flesh and, in some larger specimens, shatter aquarium glass. Also, they are extremely aggressive :

It’s tricky to find videos that aren’t backed by death metal and gleeful laugther, but here’s one more (warning: ¬†carnivory):

I’m torn between my fascination with these things and my revulsion at the idea of feeding them. Luckily, the one at Dave’s is not for sale (yeah, I asked), so the choice is out of my hands.