After much debate over what to do with our "pet" caterpillar while on vacation (because leaving it in the kitchen for a week unsupervised was absolutely not an option), we decided to simply move his home to the comforts of our garage.
The day before we left, the caterpillar headed to the absolute top of the container and began constructing this web-thing out of some sort of silky-white thread which I assumed would eventually turn into his cocoon. Upon our return from vacation, sure enough, we observed a white (almost translucent) cocoon held up by all those silky white threads in the top part of the container, but no moth or caterpillar.
We checked the container daily until last Thursday I noticed a moth had magically appeared! Initially I was sort of grossed out by this whole experiment, but it turned out to be pretty neat. Plus, the moth ended up being a lot smaller than what I was anticipating...so that helped.
Allie was completely enamored by the moth and said that she thought it was even cuter than the caterpillar was. Cool...yes. Cute? I'm not so sure about that.
We released him the next day and watched as he fluttered right to the top of our back yard Elm tree (where I'm sure he is going to lay a zillion eggs which will in turn hatch into zillions of baby tent caterpillars that will proceed to completely devour our tree next spring whereupon Allie will find another cute caterpillar hanging out on a fallen branch and the whole month-long-metamorphosis observance will again ensue).
Anyway, I was going to document the actual release, but once the moth began fluttering, the kids started screaming in panic because they thought it was going to land on them. Sheesh. I wonder where they get that from.