How to Help a Butterfly Out of Cocoon

Written by kay miranda
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How to Help a Butterfly Out of Cocoon
A butterfly emerges from its chrysalis. (papillon image by Ingrid from Fotolia.com)

Butterflies develop out of a chrysalis, often mistaken as a cocoon, which is spun by moths. The chrysalis develops when the caterpillar sheds its final layer, and the remaining skin hardens, usually hanging from a branch or leaf. The butterfly will begin to emerge after 10 to 15 days when a small hole opens in the chrysalis. You can assist the butterfly struggling to free itself.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Tweezers
  • Utility knife

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Determine whether you will need to help the butterfly or not. You may see the butterfly attempt to get out, but if it is taking more than 15 minutes, the butterfly may not get out if it hasn't made enough progress at this point. If the head still hasn't emerged, consider helping the butterfly.

  2. 2

    Remove the branch or leaf the chrysalis is hanging from so you can work in a comfortable position.

  3. 3

    Grip the top of the chrysalis with the tweezers, securely holding it in place. Allow the butterfly to continue its struggle as its legs emerge, making the hole larger with every movement.

  4. 4

    Slit the chrysalis near the hole toward the tweezers. Be careful to not cut the butterfly as it struggles to come out. Create a small slit and allow the butterfly to struggle more.

  5. 5

    Extend the slit as needed but give the butterfly the opportunity to fight its way out to strengthen its wings.

Tips and warnings

  • In most instances, helping the butterfly out of the chrysalis will prevent it from ever flying. The butterfly needs the struggle to strengthen its wings. It will survive with flowers placed in front of it to walk to.

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