We always heard such wonderful stories about raising caterpillars. My own reviews of the experience are mixed. The first time I tried it, before Sierra was born, all of the caterpillars reached cocoon stage. I was so proud I tried to pick up the flimsy cardboard box to show grandma. I did not know that Marina had put several large rocks at the bottom. The box collapsed in my hands and several of the cocoons were crushed. Only two butterflies emerged. One had a crumpled wing and would never fly. We released the other.
Our second attempt went somewhat better. The only problem was that one caterpillar was much faster than the others. It formed a chrysalis while the others were still fattening up. By the time the last caterpillar decided to make its way to the top of the cup, the first had started to emerge in those cramped quarters. We found out too late. It lay on the bottom of the cup of caterpillar food on its back, unable to maneuver and dry its wings properly. The others four emerged properly in our new pop-up butterfly habitat. No more cardboard for me.
The last time we did it, it was because Sierra was old enough to beg me to do it. Things worked out much better. Mainly because I stepped back and let the kids handle things. My only contribution was to hang the butterfly habitat over the lights to keep the caterpillar cup out of reach of our curious cats. After so many attempts, we were finally able to release all of our butterflies. I admit, it is a nice feeling. And maybe we appreciate it more because of all the failed attempts before it.
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