Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Bye-bye little caterpillar

So I know it’s been quite a while since my last caterpillar update. All winter long actually. Because apparently that’s how long our caterpillar has been lying asleep in it’s cocoon.

But all winter-long, we’ve garnered plenty of inspiration for all sorts of activities around our little caterpillar. We’ve read caterpillar books. Painted caterpillars and butterflies. Talked about the life cycle of butterflies. And did all sorts of caterpillar and butterfly themed crafts and activities.

“Feed The Very Hungry Caterpillar” food and letter recognition activity (from A Little Pinch of Perfect)

Nathan had definitely not forgotten the little caterpillar. Every now and then, he would always ask to look at our cocoon to see if it had turned into a butterfly yet. But nada.

I started to get a little worried about the little caterpillar. After all this was not one of the most conducive environments to sleep in. Especially with a curious little boy picking up the box every week or so to check on it’s progress. And there was that one time when he forgot to put the box back on the shelf, and baby sister found the box and started banging and knocking the box violently. Poor little caterpillar!

I examined the cocoon more closely. Perhaps the caterpillar had died in hibernation or something. If the caterpillar had died, I figured that the cocoon would have shrivelled up or look discoloured. Upon careful inspection, the cocoon appeared to be still very intact.

A book we have been reading about the lifecycle of caterpillars and butterflies

I did some quick research on the internet to find out the typical length of a cocoon’s incubation period. It seemed to vary anywhere from two weeks up to three months. Some species of moths would stay in it’s cocoon all winter and emerge in spring. Which is what ours appeared to be doing.

One late winter/early spring afternoon, hubby decided to have a peek at the cocoon and discovered that it was actually empty. The caterpillar had finally changed into a moth or butterfly and nibbled it’s way out.

The empty cocoon left in our caterpillar’s box

Nathan was quite disappointed to learn that his butterfly had flown away and he did not get a chance to watch it emerge from it’s cocoon.

The next day he saw a white butterfly flying around in the garden and he cheerfully remarked “Mum! Look, that’s our butterfly!”

There was only one right response to give.

“Yes! I see it. Look how happy it is flying around in our garden.”

Because why not. It could very well be from the cocoon we had looked after all winter.

Anything is possible.


  1. We recently visited the Penang Butterfly Farm and we learned that in actual, cocoon is only for moths!
    Butterflies' are called Pupa or Chrysalis!
    Hehe. I guess Eric Carle got it wrong in his book 'A Very Hungry Caterpillar! :)

    1. It IS confusing isn't it. I've seen the term used so interchangeably. All the books we read called it a cocoon. A trip to the butterfly farm would have been the perfect highlight to this whole educational experience.


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