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Fred, the “First Mantis of NC,” has died

Winnifred “Fred” Cooper, the “First Mantis of NC,” has died. The death was announced Monday on the First Pets of North Carolina Facebook page by Gov. Roy Cooper’s daughter Natalie.
Winnifred “Fred” Cooper, the “First Mantis of NC,” has died. The death was announced Monday on the First Pets of North Carolina Facebook page by Gov. Roy Cooper’s daughter Natalie. First Pets of North Carolina/ Facebook

Winnifred “Fred” Cooper, the “First Mantis of NC,” has died, according to Gov. Roy Cooper’s daughter, Natalie.

Cooper’s daughter, an insect enthusiast, announced Fred’s passing Monday on the family’s Facebook page for the family pets. The mantis, which came to live with the Cooper family in September, was about 10 months old.

“I've always said the hardest part about keeping mantises, for me, isn't crafting the perfect habitat or feeding them live flies, but having to accept that their time on Earth with you is so short,” The governor’s daughter wrote on Facebook.

She said she settled on the name Fred because of the mantis’ curious personality.

“The moment I opened the lid of her travel container, she crawled out, ready to explore, but never going too far,” Natalie Cooper wrote on the Facebook page. “Because she was so bold, I named her Winnifred ('Fred') after the slightly plucky, brazen princess from the musical ‘Once Upon A Mattress.’"

Mantises can live up to between a year and 18 months, the Amateur Entomologists’ Society’s website said.

Fred died less than a month after the family’s 16-year-old dog sheltie Chloe. Cooper posted a lengthy message in memory of Chloe on the Facebook page when she died.

“As I entered into the last hard year of the campaign for governor in 2016, I told Chloe that even though she was old and not at the top of her game, she needed to live at least through Election Day,” Cooper wrote. “I told her she needed to do that for me. She heard me and did her job. And she decided to live on to see the inauguration and spend time in that big Executive Mansion where the food was pretty good. She finally ran out of gas this week.”

While Fred and Chloe have passed on, the family still has two cats and a dog. Natalie also welcomed a new orchid mantis, Daisy to the family on May 29.

“Though she is still very small as a third instar nymph (meaning she has now molted twice), we believe she is a female because we can count six segments on her abdomen,” the post said. “We can't wait to watch her grow and to share her progress with you every #MantisMonday!”

Fred is survived by another dog named Ben, cats Adelaide and Alexei, and, of course, Daisy.

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