I am Unnecessarily Invested in These Butterflies

So, for the smaller, mobile one’s birthday about a month ago, we got her a butterfly kit. You know, one of the ones where you put caterpillars in and eventually you have butterflies.

(She asked specifically for either an ant farm or tadpoles, but I didn’t want ants in the house when she invariably somehow let them out, and what do you do with tadpoles once they’re frogs? We do not live in a frog climate.)

Butterflies, though, we could do butterflies. They don’t live that long in the great scheme of pets, so they seemed a safe bet.

Now, the butterfly kits do not come with caterpillars. What they come with is a coupon to get caterpillars from Uncle Milton, who, as far as I can tell, is the purveyor for all caterpillars for all butterfly kits ever.

(And also ants for ant farms.)

So we give her the kit, we order the caterpillars, and they come in about 2 weeks. We’re supposed to get 4-5 caterpillars, but we have 3, with possibly one more dead on arrival that is soon either consumed by the other caterpillars or buried in caterpillar poop/food.

Smaller, mobile one is ecstatic. I try to decide if it’s worth contacting customer service over not getting our 4-5 caterpillars. (No, was the conclusion.)

We put the caterpillars in the kit, or, rather, a small, removable section at the top of the kit, where they have lots of “caterpillar food” (which looks like sand and smells like death) and a place to make their chrysalises. Smaller, mobile one takes them everywhere, even though I tell her it’s probably not a good idea to shake them around so much.

This proves unfortunately true when she takes them outside and the neighbor kids knock them over.

And then there were two caterpillars.

(Again, not sure if the now-dead one got eaten or buried.)

Smaller, mobile one is very upset about the dead caterpillar (she’d named them all) but got over it pretty quickly. I, on the other hand, am also very upset about the dead caterpillar. They’re not my caterpillars. I’m not terribly fond of caterpillars in general. But they’ve like, imprinted, or something.

I am much more upset for much longer than the smaller, mobile one, which is ridiculous.

(Actually, we originally thought they’d all died in the knocked over incident, because none of them moved for several hours, so I guess it’s good that we ended up with two.)

The remaining two, Lacey and Turner, got humongous (seriously, much larger than I expected based on their size when we got them) and made cocoons, hoorah. Success. But also kind of gross, because they left parts of themselves outside, which eventually separated and just kind of…hung off the top of their little ceiling. I am learning all sorts of things, and most of them are things I didn’t need to know.

So, yesterday, we awoke to one of the butterflies (smaller, mobile one says it’s Turner) hatching out of its cocoon. Hooray! Except…it got about halfway out and then stopped moving. Seriously did not move for over twelve hours. I was convinced it had somehow died halfway out. Its wings stopped unrolling, it stopped moving its legs. Nothing.

And I was really upset. Again. It’s ridiculous.

This morning, said butterfly was all the way out, down in the pool of sugar water at the bottom of the habitat, and I assumed it had just fallen down, since its wings were still messed up and now it was hanging out in the water. Its head was out of the water, though, and when I moved the net (with the thought that I would pull it out if it were dead) it moved. So, still alive, I guess?

I don’t know what’s going on anymore. Maybe this is normal.

But I’m exhausted from the emotional roller coaster of what this poor butterfly is doing.

Maybe tomorrow its wings will have untwisted and it will be out of the water and everything will be great. Maybe tomorrow the other one (Lacey, according to the smaller, mobile one) will hatch and come out in a much more dignified manner, or maybe it too will get halfway out and then pretend to be dead for half a day.

I can’t quite fathom why I’m so invested. Maybe it’s because I am one with the animal kingdom and invested in the welfare of its inhabitants. Maybe it’s just more suffering on top of everything else going on ’round these parts.

Who knows?

Maybe I should have gotten her the ants.

butterfly habitat

Do you know anything about butterflies? Have you done one of these yourself, squider? Is this normal butterfly behavior? Should I put this poor butterfly out of his misery?

Augh!

2 responses to this post.

  1. […] if you recall, squiders, last year we got the smaller, mobile one a butterfly kit for her birthday. And I got […]

    Reply

  2. […] if you recall, squiders, last year we got the smaller, mobile one a butterfly kit for her birthday. And I got […]

    Reply

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