While these caterpillars are great fun and quite entertaining, they don't hold a candle to the ones visiting us this week.
Backing our subdivision is a cow field. Jason took the kids exploring the other day, for hours, and found cow skeletons, a burnt-out car, lots of cow pies, a dry creek bed, plants galore, and three caterpillars. The cow pies stayed where they were, but the caterpillars came home to us.
The rest of the day and evening was spent researching caterpillars and learning what they are, what they eat, how and what to feed them, when they might turn into cocoons and butterflies, and all about their habitats.
Homes have been built, out of old Christmas cookie buckets, screen, and elastic, and outfitted with sticks/branches to climb and build a cocoon on, and the pretty little guys are settled in.
Initially we were worried about C.'s caterpillar. He doesn't have much fur in his midsection and didn't seem very energetic. After more research it was determined that he's not the same as the other two and eats differently. In fact ... he'll eat just about anything. He loves flowers, as you can see here and here. Now that his diet has changed he's fattening up and growing nicely. Still pretty bald in the middle, but he seems to be ok with it and isn't trying to do a combover.
M.'s caterpillar was super energetic the first few days but has slowed down a bit yesterday and today. Perhaps a cocoon in his near future?
And then there's A.'s beautiful fat caterpillar. He ate and ate, and then we couldn't find him. Crap, I was worried. A. is 6 and easily attaches to things (he's fond of pulling junk out of the trash and calling it "treasure" ... even when it's truly just trash). I really thought he'd be a mess, even though we'd discussed cocoons and butterflies and not keeping these pets. But lo and behold ... after a brief moment of panic we looked in his bucket and found our first cocoon! According to our research he'll be in his cocoon-state for 10-20 days, so sometime around Christmas he should become a butterfly. We're now preparing his environment to allow him to come out of the cocoon and dry his wings before moving on to the real world.