Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Our Very Hungry Caterpillar!

Here's a very cool way for you kids to get up close and personal with nature and learn about how caterpillars transform into butterflies!

A couple weeks ago my mom brought over a monarch caterpillar in a jar for Sammy.  Each year she and my dad find them on their property and will put one or two in a jar to watch it transform into a butterfly. Sammy's caterpillar built it's chrysalis before he made it to our house, so my mom emailed photos of his progress...

 Here he is eating a leaf and, of course, pooping it out!  These caterpillars like milkweed plants.  We have a bunch in our back yard but unfortunately couldn't find any of these guys this year.  Maybe next year!  But that's where you want to hunt for them.

 My mom puts a stick in the jar which is usually where they build their chrysalis, however, this guy decided to use the jar lid instead.  Here he is starting to attach himself.

These little things just always amaze me. They're so pretty and green and I love the little gold "details!" It's almost like a little gold zipper across the top.  This is how it looked when she brought it over, and we've been waiting for our butterfly to emerge, which happened today!

Last night it started to turn black...actually, the chrysalis doesn't really turn black, it gets clear, enabling you to see the black of the wings inside.
 Here's what it looked like this morning.  You can definitely see it is a monarch now! 

We left to take Toby to his 18 month checkup, and when we returned we found this...

So, for a half hour we all forgot how starving we were for lunch, and went out on the deck, where we opened the jar and enjoyed the tame-ness that comes with a newly hatched monarch!

 "Wow, this is cool! Almost makes me forget about you holding me down while the doctor tortured me with that enormous needle, Mom!" 

 Climbing on Sammy's hand

Okay, so I went a little nuts with the camera.  But hey, how often do you have the opportunity to take close-up photos of a live butterfly?

 (Of course it was only a matter of time before we had to introduce our butterfly to Puppy!)

 By this point it's wings were starting to dry enough to flutter around the deck.  This part of our deck is fully screened so it was like a little butterfly house for about an hour!

We ate lunch, played with him a little more, and then said our goodbyes when he was ready to fly away!

I'll try to remember to post a link back to this post next summer and give you a heads up that it's time to go caterpillar hunting!

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