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Middle Monster Becomes a Mama

Last weekend, Middle Monster found a huge gorgeous moth in the back yard with damaged wings.  I’m pretty sure it was this Polyphemus Moth — freaking big enough to creep her out when it hopped around.  But she couldn’t leave the poor thing outside to get eaten, so she scooped it up in a plastic bowl (at least it wasn’t my good Tupperware this time). 

She put lots of grass and flowers and leaves in the bowl, determined to “feed” and “water” it.  The next morning, she came in and told me the butterfly was “pooping” in the bowl.

Ummm, do butterflies poop?  Anyway, this moth was not pooping.  In fact, it was laying eggs.  Absolutely thrilled, Middle started moving the tiny eggs into another plastic container for safe keeping.  Before Mama Moth died, she laid at least 20 or so eggs, and I’m pretty sure Middle found each and every one of them.

We had a somber burial for the poor damaged moth.

All this week, Middle rushed home from school to check her eggs.  Now I had no idea if the things would actually hatch or not, especially with all her handling and moving.  I also had no idea how long they’d actually take to hatch.  But when she came screaming into the house tonight after school, I knew the miracle had happened.

Middle Monster is now the proud mama of three tiny little caterpillars.  They’re about 1 cm long.  She immediately went racing about the yard gathering every green leaf she could find (it’s been very dry and hot this summer, so not as easy as you’d think) to “feed” her babies.

If they all hatch, I’m going to encourage her to release most of them.  I have no idea if we can feed and grow a caterpillar into a moth, but she’s determined to try!  What a nice little science experiment, too.

4 thoughts on “Middle Monster Becomes a Mama

  1. Has she looked up the type of moth online and searched out its preferred food? Also, they might want living leaves, so that might take some, um, agricultural work.

    Congrats on the babies!!!

    1. All I’ve found is that the caterpillars eat leaves of trees, like oak, etc. We’re pretty limited here in the suburb yard, but we can hit a park or something this weekend and see if we can find more leaves. I’m hoping she’ll let all but 1 or 2 go (so at least some of them have a chance!!) but she’s very attached to them!

  2. What a great experience! We’ve done the butterfly thing…you know that one you see advertised on TV?…and it’s always been fascinating. But what you’ve got going on is so much butter. You need to post pictures 😀

    1. Right now they’re so little I don’t think they’d show up well in a picture! But if she manages to get some to grow, I’ll definitely take a picture. I should have got one with her moth before it croaked.

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