For her birthday, SteelyKid got a “Butterfly Keeper” set, which is basically a big mesh cylinder maybe two feet high and a foot in diameter. It came with a coupon for free live caterpillars for “Painted Lady” butterflies, which we duly sent away for. These came in a plastic cup full of caterpillar food, with paper across the top, and after eating most of the food, they climbed up and hung from the paper to form their chrysalises.
The instructions said to transfer the pupae to the mesh thing by pinning the paper to the top or side, which I did, with much delicate effort. Then, while moving them to the place where we plan to let them hatch, two of the three fell off the paper to the bottom of the mesh enclosure. Which led to many tears from SteelyKid, who was already a little brittle over the need to change the Band-Aid on her leg, so having two maybe-dead potential butterflies was just the end of the world.
So, my questions are these:
- Is falling two feet onto a paper towel likely to irreparably damage these?
- If they’re not irreparably damaged, will they be able to hatch while lying on their sides on the bottom of the Butterfly Keeper thing, or do they need to be hanging vertically?
- If they need to be hanging, is there a way I can re-attach them to the top that will let them hatch? Double-sided tape comes to mind as something that might work, but I don’t know if touching them will kill them.
If there’s a way to rescue these and get the three butterflies SteelyKid was expecting rather than the one that she fears she’ll get now, I’d love to know it. If you know anything useful, please leave a comment; you could make a pre-schooler very happy.