My daughter loves butterflies. Absolutely adores them. She had been begging for a couple months to get the butterflies from the commercial. I finally gave in and got in contact with them and the great people at Insect Lore were delighted to send us a kit. They sent a Butterfly habitat, 5 live caterpillars, instructions, a laminated posted showing the stages of development and a set of plastic figures in various stages of development. They shipped very fast too. They needed to be fast, its live insects after all.
The first day there wasn’t a lot of movement from them, they were kind of just settling in. But by day two there was silk and movement, a little eating. Its really hard to explain but I couldn’t take my eyes of them it was so fascinating. They come in a sealed jar and you don’t do anything but watch, all the food they need is in the jar. They will eat and actually poo but there is nothing you need to add or do, only watch and enjoy watching them grow, which is really pretty fast!
After about 7-10 days they grow so much from eating so much its about time for them to crawl up to the top to form a chrysalis. I will say by the time ours went up almost all the food was gone and there was a lot of caterpillar poop in the cup.It was kind of gross. but I though it was neat to see the long caterpillars crawling!
I had the fortune of watching them go to the top and hang down and form the hook shape. It was so exciting! In about 12 hours all the caterpillars had taken position and the “shells” were forming and starting to harden. When this happened it was time to transfer them to the habitat!
You just pin the paper to the side of the habitat and wait about another week. When they first form they are light brown, then the colors of them turn black, and right before they are about to emerge they turn nearly clear and you can see the wing colors. I was so lucky because I caught the birth of one of them!
Now you can get some fresh flowers and sprinkle water sweetened with a few tsp. of sugar. They love carnations! After a couple days of watching them its time to let them go. They might be timid and not want to go at first so you may have to nudge them. In our case we had to nudge a couple but there was one beautiful butterfly that didn’t want to leave. She stuck on my daughter’s finger for a long time!
Our thoughts: I think this in an AMAZING learning tool. I can openly admit I probably enjoyed the process more than anyone else. I was the caterpillar babysitter so I spent a lot of time watching them. A couple of things you need to be aware of. The cups they grow in are going to gross you out, they get filled with a lot of caterpillar poop and silk. It looks gross when its mostly poop there but you will know its near time for them to change. Also after they emerge they hang on the side of the habitat but look like they are bleeding. This is normal but it also looks gross. And because it takes a lot of patience waiting for the process this product is geared for older kids. My toddler would have definitely ruined it if I left it anywhere near his reach. But we loved it so much we are thinking about buying the huge pavilion that does 10 butterflies and doing the process all over again! It was really neat!
Buy It: You can get your own butterfly kit from Insect Lore! They have other insect kits too like the Ladybug and Praying Mantis! The butterfly habitat we reviewed retails for $19.99 and you can find that one right here.
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Product provided to facilitate this review. Opinions remain my own.