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How to Help a Butterfly Out of Cocoon

Updated December 14, 2018

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.

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

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

  6. Warning

    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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Things You'll Need

  • Tweezers
  • Utility knife

About the Author

With more than 15 years of professional writing experience, Kimberlee finds it fun to take technical mumbo-jumbo and make it fun! Her first career was in financial services and insurance.

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