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How to Care for a Black Fuzzy Caterpillar Pet

Updated February 21, 2017

If you have found a black fuzzy caterpillar in your garden, you could have an Arge moth, Harnessed moth or Eastern buckmoth larva. These are common types of caterpillar located in North America. It is possible to care for the caterpillar and watch it turn into a moth or butterfly. Looking after the insect is straight forward and a great way to teach kids about wildlife. However, make sure you create the right habitat for it to grow in.

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  1. Prepare the fish tank for the black fuzzy caterpillar. Remove any sand or debris from its previous usage.

  2. Position the saucer of wet sand or soil in a corner of the tank.

  3. Put a small potted plant in the tank, and sprinkle a few leaf clippings around the plant on the base of the aquarium. Water the plant.

  4. Lift the caterpillar onto a leaf on the plant. Make sure it rights itself and attaches to a branch.

  5. Cover the top of the fish tank with netting. The holes in the net need to be smaller than the caterpillar, so it cannot escape.

  6. Position the tank in daylight, and move it to a cooler place during the evening after the sun sets -- such as garage or spare room.

  7. Freshen up the caterpillar's habitat every day by removing old leafs and adding new ones. Keep the plant watered, and remove any excrement. Don't forget to change the saucer of wet sand or soil, too.

  8. Care for the caterpillar for up to 14 days. After this time it turns into a chrysalis -- it will hang from a branch or netting to do this. When this happens do not touch or move the caterpillar at all. You do not need to change the water or move the plant. The caterpillar is changing into a moth.

  9. Wait for another 14 days, as the caterpillar requires this amount of time to turn into a moth or butterfly. It will do so in the tank.

  10. Release the moth or butterfly into the wild. You have cared for the caterpillar successfully, and releasing it into the wild is the final point.

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Things You'll Need

  • Empty fish tank
  • Saucer with wet sand or soil
  • Small potted plant
  • Leaf clippings
  • Netting

About the Author

Based in Bristol, Philippa Jones has been a music journalist and script writer since 2007, working across a range of radio programs in the U.K. and Australia. Her articles have appeared in "Impact Magazine," "The Mic" and in local newspapers. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in politics from the University of Nottingham.

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