Caterpillar Habitat

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Jack found these little guys all over our dill plant one day. I mean, ALL OVER. He would go out and check every since day to see how they were eating and if they were bigger. It was a fairly large planet. These "little" dudes ate the entire thing. When the plant was juuuuuust about donzo, Jack started to feel bad. He wanted to keep one and save it. I explained, of course, that they were supposed to eat, get big, then get into the cocoon, and turn into a butterfly. Well, that made it worse. He wanted to see ALL OF THAT! (duh, mom). So, I went off to see if it was possible. Thanks to Mr. Google, I found out how to make a caterpillar habitat.

You will need a fairly large container. We got our's at Walmart for $4. Yes, Walmart. (It's closeby, and in a rich neighborhood so there are hardly any crazies). You'll also need dirt, rocks, a small jar that fits inside nicely (I used a babyfood jar), a small thing of cheesecloth, and some sticks. Oh and you'll need something for the catterpillar to eat. We just took what was left of the dill plant.

We started with rocks at the bottom to help with dainage. You don't want the habitat too wet, or it won't work. Then we added the dirt and arranged some sticks. We put the dill plant inside the baby food jar with a soaked paper towel to "water" it. You just don't want the plant to die while little dude is still eating from it. Then put the baby food jar into the big jar. This is also how we got the caterpillar in the jar. We took the part of the dill plant that it was still eating from. Then cover the top with the cheesecloth and we used a bit of yarn to keep it on.

Then, you wait. Watch and wait.

After about 4 days, we noticed the cocoon. Actually, Jack did when he checked it for the 39th time that day. That's the great thing about this little project. It kept Jack involved. He checked it all day long.

After about 2 weeks while Jack was asleep, we noticed the butterfly. A beautiful black and orange butterfly. I ran and pulled him out of bed. Yup. For a butterfly. It was so worth it. You don't want to keep the butterfly in the jar once it's dried it's wings. We brought the jar outside and took off the cheesecloth. The butterfly flew away as soon as the cloth was off. We did not get a good picture of it. I tried but was way too excited for Jack to experience that part, I totally didn't even care about it.

He loved this. He helped with every part of it. Watched it every day. And was the happiest kid when it was time to let the butterfly go. He talks about where he thinks it is in the world sometimes. It's the best.

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