New caterpillar pet

Karin
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New caterpillar pet

Unread post by Karin » Thu May 10, 2012 9:29 pm

Another insect I found. It's gonna be my pet until it's fully grown. When I was at my mom's apartment today and watering her plants while she's been away to Florida, I found a few of her smaller plants seemed to have been eaten up by someone. I looked around a bit and found a big caterpillar. Rather than killing it (why the heck would I do that?) or releasing it somewhere else so the rest of the mom's plants don't get eaten up, I took it home with me. Two reasons why I am keeping it. One, I remembered having fun with caring for caterpillars when I was in my early teenager age and watching them turn into moths or butterflies (most of the time, moths). When we used to have this tree near my bedroom window, it would occasionally be home to bagworms and then they were all over the place on the ground. When I babysat a few of them (I'd say the most I had was 36), I watched some of them turn into beautiful snow-white moths with a black speck or two on them. The 36 I had years ago, 27 reached cocoon stage, and before I accidentally dropped them in the grass while releasing some moths, I had about 20 or 21 moths. I hoped the rest I dropped transformed. Okay, second reason I'm keeping this guy is I am eager to see what it will transform into, either a moth or a butterfly after its sleeping stage. I can hope a butterfly, but anyway...

...only drawback is I have to clean up its stuff whenever it's done, if you know what I mean.

I hoped it would enjoy some romaine lettuce and now...it's already gotten around to the second piece of leaf I put in there. Just put a large third piece and I am sure it will be done with that before bed. It's stopped for now. Aside from watching out for predators, the life of a caterpillar has got to be the laziest life, which is what lots of us would like. Just eating and sleeping. :lol:

When I touched the caterpillar while pulling it off of mom's plant, it was like I was only half feeling it. The other half, it felt very smooth, soft, and squishy. Creepier than silk.

Here's the adorable, chubby caterpillar.
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I will keep track here on the progress and see what happens to the caterpillar. Since I'm giving it romaine lettuce, which is nutritious enough, even more than iceberg lettuce, that should help it get the nutrition it needs. If it reaches adult, I will take some pics before releasing it outside.

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Bonita
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Re: New caterpillar pet

Unread post by Bonita » Thu May 10, 2012 9:32 pm

:D I hope it does change. I used to do this all the time. Makes me want too again. Only had like 6 that never came out of their cocoons.

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Wassa
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Re: New caterpillar pet

Unread post by Wassa » Thu May 10, 2012 10:30 pm

EDIT: Nevermind. Found a better match. It's an yellowstriped armyworm. Tropical species so I didn't have it in my field guide.

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Karin
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Re: New caterpillar pet

Unread post by Karin » Fri May 11, 2012 2:49 am

Wassa wrote:EDIT: Nevermind. Found a better match. It's an yellowstriped armyworm. Tropical species so I didn't have it in my field guide.

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Armyworm, ehh? Something new has been learned. I do love the appearance of that moth, the irregular patterns on its wings. Tropical species? Odd because I live in a semi-tropical area and I do live nearly two hours away from the beach. Sounds like a bit of a rare find.

I have to say, I am a bit concerned about this little guy I found. I am not sure what it is. I believe it is sleeping now (just checked) but when it was sleeping earlier after eating a bit more of the lettuce, I think it puked. It seemed to be fine after I had to wake it up to clean up the mess inside the container it's in but it sort of did it again once it went back to sleep. I was expecting it to munch up all that lettuce before anything else but the throwing up does seem suspicious. I am not sure if it's normal for that type of caterpillar. I've never seen it with other caterpillars I've babysat before.

Now I am thinking of that Simpsons episode. The one with the screaming caterpillar.

EDIT: Just read they can be found almost anywhere in the U.S., and they are more common down south. Also just read they are known to destroy crops. Ouch. Well, I love this little guy, no matter what.

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Karin
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Re: New caterpillar pet

Unread post by Karin » Sun May 13, 2012 1:14 pm

Well, after two days of wondering what was wrong with my little pet, I decided to let it go. Whenever I feel an animal I caught isn't going to do well under my hands, I let it go in hopes of maybe it can do better out in nature.

I was hoping for it to continue eating ravenously like what's seen in my photos above. After reading up on them, even though romaine lettuce wasn't in the list of things they eat, since they have an appetite for hundreds of things, my little guy would accept the lettuce just fine.

Here's what happened. After I mentioned it puked some and then a bit more later that night, it flat stopped eating. Even when I gave it things that according to what I read they eat (I gave it clovers and grass yesterday), it was more interested in tearing them up but not eating. Then, this morning, it looked very weak. Even it wouldn't accept the drops of water I was giving it.

I have no explanation on what it could be, but I feel I've done as much as I could. It could have been the lettuce but again with its appetite for many things, it may not have been the case. Right now it's hard to tell what's up with it.

It felt kind of fun to babysit a caterpillar again but it's not so fun when they don't eat. I am still worried about it at the moment; it's that obsession that makes me wish I would've just released it somewhere else the first day I found it devouring my mom's plants. It may have been disappointed it couldn't eat any more of that.

So, that's where this little fun ends. :(

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Rhyela
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Re: New caterpillar pet

Unread post by Rhyela » Sun May 13, 2012 3:54 pm

Aw, I'm sorry to hear about the little guy. I think you did the best thing by letting it go. Hopefully being out in the wild again will give it a fighting chance. At least you got to enjoy him for a little while! :hug:

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