Forgot your password?

I Bet You Never Had This Pet !

By Edited Sep 15, 2015 1 1
An awesome discovery was made a few weeks earlier in our mini-garden. A green and an extremely cute green creature was sun bathing on a tree branch. The creature had two different sets of legs and the tiniest purple and yellow stripes on its back.
First time face to face
Credit: (C) Purlo

Just look at that little yellow "tail"!

Jazz the Caterpillar
Credit: (C) Purlo

The black "dots" are not eyes; they are "breathing wholes"

The first instinct of all the other residents of the house was to throw the awesome creature away. Of course, I would not allow such none sense. 
The creature was safely transported on the tree branch to my window sill, where it could stay as long as it wished. It was decided that it is a she, and her name to become Jazz - for reasons mentioned later.

Research, research, research!

For the next 24 hours Google was my absolute best friend. With the help of Google and one more -human - friend, Hani Sheta, who is an entomologist, I started to learn how to make Jazz as comfortable as possible. 
I found a website that lets you identify caterpillars depending on their physical appearance. It turns turned out that Jazz was going to be a Hawk Moth
There are a wide variety of hawk moth, and I was excited to see which she would turn into. 
Hani told me that it was almost impossible to identify Jazz's gender based on her physical appearance as a caterpillar. Who cares ! This might sound a bit sexist - but something this cute that would turn into something that gorgeous could not be masculine, could it ?!
I also got to learn that some people do actually have caterpillars for pets - or, well, science projects. There were several websites that I came across that tells you how to care for a little silk farm as an elementary school class project. And how to create your very own funkey-looking silk book marks out of silk cocoons. I did not not like the part where you had to kill the moth, but happily, there is another method that did not require killing anything. 
You can simply google " caring for a caterpillar" and you will find plenty of these websites. However, I was not so much concerned with silk moths as much as I was concerned with my little hawk moth to be. 
Set up
Credit: (C) Purlo

My initial setup for recording Jazz's every move, 24/7, before I added soil.  

Thanks to Google and Hani, I made up this list of

Things You Need To Know/ Do If You Want To Care For A Hawk Moth Caterpillar:

1. Give your caterpillar fresh green leaves every day. She needs her food. Use leaves from the same tree  you found her on.

2. Keep the branch ,that your caterpillar is standing on, planted in some soil, that is at least 8 centimeters deep. Some caterpillars have to bury themselves to go into the pupa stage, and if they do not find soil, well,  they do not mind jumping off a second story window to look for it. I learnt that the hard way. 
  *No, apparently caterpillars do not suffer any damage if they fall off a distance that is enough to break a human's neck. 
3. Some caterpillars are nocturnal, so when it is night time, you should make sure there are no lights that might annoy them. Try to mimic mother nature as much as possible. If you really wanted to photograph  or  tape your caterpillar at night, you would better be ready with a night vision camera. 

4. When she turns into a pupa, whether in the soil or on the branch, do not move her around unless it is really necessary. Too much movement cant hurt what is inside the cocoon. 

5. When moths come out of their cocoons, they need to feed on something. They naturally suck flower nectar, so you can have some flowers handy on the day, or sugar water in a very thin tube. If you are wondering what a thin tube can be, I used the plastic outer tube of an old Bic pen. 
Jazz on a branch
Credit: (C) Purlo

Just chilin' !

After all the research, I set up my webcam to record Jazz 24/7, or at least all-morning-time/7, because I did not have enough money to buy a night vision camera..
Now we come to the name. I love jazz music, but I am not a jazz expert. However, for some reason, the caterpillar's movement when she was eating reminded me of modal jazz. It might be the way she was moving her smaller feet while keeping her bigger legs stable. I don't know. She looked like Jazz to me, so be it !
I spent a few days being extremely excited while personally observing Jazz almost all the time.
One day I went to get a small snack and when I came back Jazz was gone, and a pigeon was standing on the window sill. "Holly sh**! did the pigeon eat her?!" I totally freaked out. Back then, I did not know that a pigeon would not be capable of eating such a big caterpillar. When I first found Jazz, she was already very grown up. 
Then a little green spot in the soil grabbed my attention. "Wait.. maybe she has gone inside the soil?!" .. and yes, that was where she went to. After 4 days on my window sill, she finally decided it was a good time to start creating her cocoon. 
I could not take  videos during that stage, but I sure took a lot of photos. It was great to observe how her body slowly changed color while turning into a red  shell that the moth can safely form inside. 
Jazz, still in her green phase, underground.
Credit: (C) Purlo

When I first discovered her underground . .

turning red
Credit: (C) Purlo

After some days; already starting to slightly change color and contract. 

Only days before the transformation
Credit: (C) Purlo

Some more days later .. 

Right before the big moment!
Credit: (C) Purlo

Right before the "Big Moment" !

Wikipedia states that "Larvae burrow into soil to pupate, where they remain for 2–3 weeks before they emerge as adults." Jazz was clockwork - after exactly 2 weeks she decided it was time to come out, and my camera was ready in the perfect position to record the moment. 
On that day, I think I kind of had a glimpse of what it is like to to wait outside a delivery room and finally a nurse would appear with the baby. When Jazz was finally out, I was heads over heals, taking pictures of her from every possible angle! 
Credit: (C) Purlo

These winds became 2 times bigger when they were finally full of liquid and ready to fly. 

Jazz's body and wings were so soft as if they were made out of suede. Her wings had the most intricate pattern I had ever seen personally on any living thing. Jazz the Hawk Moth was definitely the most gorgeous creature I had ever met face to face. 
After about 5 hours, she was well fed, her wings strong and full of liquid. She spread her wings and flew away, leaving me with an amazing experience and a little empty cocoon for a souvenir. 
Empty shell
Credit: (C) Purlo

The empty cucon. My only remaining souvenir from Jazz. 



Sep 3, 2014 10:30am
High five to saving and raising a catepillar/moth. That's just awesome.
Add a new comment - No HTML
You must be logged in and verified to post a comment. Please log in or sign up to comment.

Explore InfoBarrel

Auto Business & Money Entertainment Environment Health History Home & Garden InfoBarrel University Lifestyle Sports Technology Travel & Places
© Copyright 2008 - 2016 by Hinzie Media Inc. Terms of Service Privacy Policy XML Sitemap

Follow IB Pets & Animals