Monday, September 5, 2011
Well, the caterpillars have left the building. I was getting ready to leave on a four-day hiking trip with J's family, and I decided it was time to say farewell. I really didn't want to come home to dead caterpillars, and I REALLY wasn't super interested in keeping them through the winter. The project had run its course.
By the time I let them go, they were getting huge (like 3+ inches when stretched out) and eating a TON of leaves. Check out one of their typical four-hour feasts above. On the right side, you can actually see the word "FRUIT" on my fruit bowl behind the jar.
Out of the eight that hatched out of those hard, teeny little eggs left on the concrete outside my door, six actually made it to be plump, fast eating / fast moving, HUGE caterpillars. I'm pretty pleased. One did die early on, and one...
There was one that wasn't really keeping up size-wise with the rest, and I noticed that he was staying mostly near the bottom of the jar. He was always eating, but it took me a while to notice he couldn't actually climb, or even really crawl. He just laid on the bottom of the jar eating as much as he could, poor little dude. I separated him from the rest, gave him his own pickle jar lid to chow down in, but it became apparent he was in bad shape. I had to put on my big girl pants and put him out of his misery. I felt terrible.
The rest of them, I let them all go in this tree (view from my front door). I had been getting most of their leaves from this one, so I figured it was the best spot.
I really hope some of them make it to be more than bird snacks, but mother nature can be a mean old bitch sometimes. Who knows, maybe next spring one will land outside my door and this will start ALL over again... (not really hoping for that to happen though!)
Good luck, little dudes and dudettes!