Sunday, March 4, 2012


I asked my sister, a professional bugologist, to give me her expert opinion on what kind of caterpillars we were finding so ubiquitously in our back yard. (Specifically what it will turn into, not what it already is. I already know what it is: a black, fuzzy caterpillar.) She did what all good teachers (and sisters!) do: challenged me to experiment and see what it turns into.

So I "caught" one yesterday and placed it in a specially-made jar. In this case, a Welch's grape juice bottle cleaned out and with the narrow neck cut off so my hand can fit in to supplement his food supply, etc.

Then I went and got a second caterpillar just in case something happened to the first one. Truth be told, neither one were terribly lively so I wasn't entirely sure I was starting off with valid test cases. Also I have two very curious cats who like to investigate things in the house.

Here's the start of the experiment:

When I got home last night the jar was knocked off the piano and some leaves were strewn across the floor. One of the fuzzy little guys was on the floor and the other was MIA. I scooped him up and put him and the leaves back in, but didn't know if he had survived or not. There was plenty of bug poop in the jar so I know they had done well up until the point the kitty hurricane disrupted their lives.

A little while later I found Thing 2 crawling across the floor, despite my fears he had turned into a cat toy. He was very lively this time around so I put him in the jar and put the whole kit and caboodle in my room out of cats-harm's way.

This morning there was only one left in the jar. I hope it didn't crawl out and get squashed by me in the middle of the night.

Since my room stays fairly dark during the day I put it out on my front step this morning. Now I'm worried:
*That a bird will be delighted by the free breakfast;
*That he will roast in his plastic home and I will have a bug BBQ on my hands;
*That he will escape. Can't really blame him for trying after the trauma I've put him through e past 24 hours.

Hopefully I figure out how to raise a healthy caterpillar soon so we can see what kind of a (probably) moth he is.


  1. Very cool! I'm curious, though, when you say that you hope the one didn't crawl out and get squashed by you in the night, are you worried about the poor little caterpillar? Or are you worried about the ooey-gooeyness of squishing it in the night? Ooey Gooey!

    Seriously, I think it's cool that you're doing this experiment, and I look forward to seeing the results. Wouldn't it be cool if you got a cocoon (or chrysalis) in your jar, and then got to see the moth or butterfly when it emerges? Good luck! And, keep us posted!

  2. We have 3 of these in a real honest to goodness "bug habitat" and I have a spare bug habitat if you need one. 1 is in his "Canoon*" and 1 is working on his "Canoon" and the other is still trying to decide what to do.

    *Nate's word for Cocoon