Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Trace's Butterfly Habitat

For Christmas my parents (Mama and Papa) bought Trace a butterfly habitat from Insect Lore. It came with a coupon code to order the caterpillars. For $5 shipped we got 5 caterpillars!!! They came in a plastic jar along with their food. They started out as tiny little things and grew very quickly. Trace was super excited to periodically “check on” his caterpillars.

As they grew....

About 7 days after we received the caterpillars they turned into chrysalis and attached themselves to the top of the jar. The jar actually had a very thin piece of paper that the caterpillars attached to instead of the actual lid. 

The directions said to give them 3 days to turn into chrysalis before transferring them to the butterfly habitat and that is what we did. The directions said to safety pin the paper they were attached to the inside of the habitat and they should turn into butterflies several days later. Trace and I were helping them making their move one morning and I only had one safety pin handy. Well I pinned the paper to the habitat and accidentally hit one of the chrysalis with my hand. It started swinging and shaky like crazy and it was so creepy. I just screamed. Trace looked terrified. Looking back I wish I could have kept my act together, but I was NOT prepared for it to move. After the paper was attached, it became clear that one safety pin was not good enough. So T and I had to run upstairs to get another one. Trace asked where we were going and I told him “To save the butterflies.” We got the 2nd safety pin and then repeated the process of the chrysalis shaking and hitting my hand and me screaming. Pretty neat stuff. It then became obvious that one more safety pin was needed. I told T we had to run upstairs again and he screamed “Save the butterflies!!!” and took off running for the stairs. The 3rd safety pin worked like a charm and we were done for the time being.

The aftermath of the food jar...

Several days later the Painted Lady butterflies began hatching. Now this was neat to see!!! Chad, Trace and I all randomly checked the habitat to see how they were progressing. I think Chad and I were just as excited as Trace was about it all. Fun fact- When butterflies hatch out of their cocoons this red liquid bursts everywhere so the habitat looks like a butterfly massacre occurred. You can keep the butterflies in their habitat for about a week as long as you feed them. We used cotton balls soaked in sugar water and the butterflies really went crazy whenever we dropped a fresh one in.

Once they were ready to be released we did so in our front yard. The instructions said they typically stare in the area where they were released for a week or two, but we didn’t see those suckers again! 

Trace was also gifted a butterfly feed garden, but we didn’t use it this time. I plan on ordering another batch in the next couple weeks and will use the feeder outside after we release them to see if they stay in the area. This is such a fun toy and I'm glad Trace has it! It will be fun for years to come because it's not something he'll outgrown in a year or so!! 

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