Watching a caterpillar grow into a butterfly is a great opportunity for children to learn about nature in a hands-on way. Caring for a butterfly cocoon, otherwise known as a chrysalis, is not difficult. In fact, there is very little that you need to do to keep a cocoon healthy so that the metamorphosis can occur. If you can find a butterfly cocoon, bring it inside and let your kids watch it develop into one of nature’s most beautiful insects.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Large jar or box
- Moss or leaves
Prepare a habitat for the coming butterfly. Line the bottom of the box or jar with leaves, and place a few twigs in the container.
Place the cocoon into the container on the stick where you found it. Do not remove the cocoon from the place where you found it hanging. If you cannot safely remove the twig or branch, find a different chrysalis.
Wait for the butterfly to emerge. There is nothing that you need to do to the cocoon. Do not be surprised if it twitches and moves. This is normal.
Allow the butterfly to dry its wings when it emerges. Do not touch the butterfly as its wings are drying.
Give the butterfly a dish of sugar water to eat. Keep it for a few days, then release it into the wild.
Tips and warnings
- If your chrysalis falls off of its perch, prop it up and leave it alone. The butterfly should still emerge.
- Never release a butterfly into the wild that is not native to your area.
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