Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Our New Pet

Yesterday afternoon Allie was thrilled to find a caterpillar munching on a leaf in our backyard.  Hopeful that it would soon spin a cocoon and turn into a beautiful butterfly, she insisted we keep it in a jar so we could observe the process.  So, I helped her gather some leaves and sticks and we made sure Ellie (the name she bestowed upon her now pet caterpillar) was nice and cozy in her new home. 

This morning during breakfast, the kids watched in awe as Ellie munched away on one of the backyard tree leaves now laying inside the jar.  I was quite shocked and in awe myself at how fast that little 1.5 inch caterpillar could pack away the greenery.  Then I observed tons of small little black specks littering the bottom of the jar and couldn't help but wonder when the kids would notice what I'm fairly certain to be caterpillar poop.

Anyway, since I was not quite sure what I was dealing with, I asked my sister about caterpillar care when she happened to call this morning.  My sister used to be a preschool teacher and I was sure that she had experience with raising caterpillars from larvae to butterfly.  I discovered that I had so far done everything right (sticks, collecting fresh leaves, etc), but once the caterpillar spins a cocoon, I need to make sure there are flowers sprayed with sugar water in its habitat so that it has something to eat once it emerges. 

Since this whole thing was getting quite involved, I thought it a good idea to figure out exactly what type of caterpillar we were actually dealing with.  After a quick Google search, I deduced that we are housing and apparently raising a type of tent caterpillar that looks similar to this....
....and will emerge from its cocoon as a beautiful....
....Lackey Moth.  Allie, who was looking over my shoulder and proclaiming how beautiful Ellie is going to be someday apparently did not notice that it was taking every ounce of my self control to not literally hurl all over the keyboard. 

I am not a bug person.  I am not even really a caterpillar person.  And, I am definitely not a caterpillar-that-is-transforming-into-a-moth-the-size-of-a-small-bird-in-the-middle-of-my-kitchen-as-we-speak person. 

Despite my disgust, Ellie is still in my kitchen eating leaves and is well on her way to becoming an adult moth.
Oh the sacrifices one makes for the education of their children.....

1 comment:

ella peterson said...

good luck with all of the transformations. It sounds like you are going through one yourself. I'm impressed that you didn't just chuck the whole jar out the door when you found out!