Your Caterpillar is Now 9 Days Old.

Click on a picture for a close-up view.
Picture #1
Picture #2
Picture #3
Picture #4

We tried to interview your caterpillar about its feelings on wasps Picture #1 but it was still to painful to talk about and your caterpillar walked away from the microphone <look closely and you will see it walking away picture #2>. We believe it had heard the stories from others of unprotected caterpillars being taken from their leaves and friends, never to be seen again. It is at about this age that the caterpillar gets very cautious about its surroundings and will actually signal others if danger is present. A flick of its head and possibly a low pitch tone is repeatedly made to warn its friends who may curl up into a defensive position. Your caterpillar curled up when we took its picture below.

Your caterpillar was back eating within a minute or so and kept very focused on that task for the rest of the day stopping only when full to hold on to the mesh wall of its protective enclosure and rest. Often a caterpillar will rest with its head down. This resting is usually in preparation for something strenuous and you should never bother a resting caterpillar. After a few hours it did do something interesting! It used silk threads which it created from its mouth to glue its tail to the fabric wall. Your caterpillar often uses its silk to attach a life line to wherever it is going as a safety cord. You can easily see these fine threads all over the enclosure if you look closely. Once it was securely attached it pulled itself forward and slipped right out of its skin. It does this in order to be able to grow bigger, you remember "molting". This is instar #3 and you can see the slight color changes taking place, Picture #3.

At this stage you can often find small caterpillars on different parts of the milkweed plant at different times of the day, in the morning they are down low, in the afternoon they venture into the top leaves. It may know when wasps are likely to be flying or have an internal clock? The soft horns on its head and tail are getting bigger.

Now is a Very good time to think about getting some small plants so you will be ready to raise a caterpillar at your home when this online program ends. Taking the time to learn about exactly how to care for our Monarch friends is so important and will help you keep all your butterflies very happy and safe. A caterpillar this size will consume several small tender leaves a day! Please have extra milkweed growing in case of unforeseen events. A few nice milkweed plants in a yard will catch the eye of a female Monarch and eggs will be laid. We can not stress the importance of having plenty of milkweed growing, one female can lay hundreds of eggs and that means lots of milkweed.

The live Monarch Foundation is happy to bring you this free learning experience and hope you will share your, lessons with others and help Butterflies in your area by planting seeds for their caterpillar children. Please take advantage of our Free Seed Program and please tell others about this online pet adventure!

Next update in 3 days.

How Big is my Caterpillar? These pictures use a penny as a size comparison.

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