We are raising caterpillars at our house. It all started when little girl rescued a green caterpillar from a bucket of water in our backyard. “He was scared,” she told me. A couple of weeks before when Spring had begun to spring she asked for a “bug house” and we made one from a newly emptied plastic jar. The plastic jar became home for the green caterpillar. My bug-loving-husband picked a variety of leaves from surrounding foliage and put them in the jar with the caterpillar. Most of the time we insist that the kids put their insect guests back out in nature where they found them by the end of the day, but this time was different. I half expected the thing to die from his swimming lesson, so I didn’t think much about it until the next day.
“Look, Mommy, he ate the leaf!”
We’ve been feeding it leaves ever since (over a week), and it has approximately doubled in size. It seems to be thriving in its little jar. We’ve discovered that it likes rose bush leaves, and oak tree leaves, and it poops prolifically.
A few days later little boy discovered a much smaller brown caterpillar on the tree house. The brown caterpillar joined the green caterpillar in the jar, and though they are quite different from each other they get along well.
Each day we carefully empty the jar, clean out all the poop, and put in new leaves. The child has joined in all the fun as if the whole thing was her idea. We are all having so much fun tending the creepy crawlies, and we’re seeing some really fascinating things. The green one is big enough that it is now quite impressive to watch him eat. You can see his little mouth parts working down a row of the leaf, and going back for another row much the way we might eat corn on the cob. If you watch carefully you can also see a pulse of blue coloring move from one end to the other. I wish I knew what it was.
I’m wondering what our chances are of actually observing the metamorphoses from caterpillar to butterfly (or moth…hubby thinks they could be moth larvae.) I was skeptical at first, and now there is hope. I mean we’ve managed to raise them this far. Sky’s the limit, right?
That’s the kind of hope I need to keep on going in my larger, and much more significant Mommy duties. We’ve learned a lot about the care and feeding of these three precious lives. They are all so different from each other, but they’re learning to get along. It takes a lot of tender care, fresh ideas, and some mucking out, but we get to see some pretty fascinating things along the way. Who knows what the future holds?
I have great hope…