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To raise a Monarch Butterfly you'll need:
A large glass jar or aquarium
And elastic band
Look for a caterpillar about as big as your little finger. Collect the caterpillar and the top of its plant in your glass jar. Put in a few extra milkweed leaves. Cover the jar with waxed paper and secure with the elastic band. Punch small air holes in the paper with a fork.
Place the bottle outside or near a window where it's sheltered from direct sun and from rain. Now watch but don't bump the bottle. After a few days, the caterpillar will stop moving and hang still under the lid or one of the leaves. When the chrysalis is finished, take the cover off the jar and gently ease the milkweed part way out so the chrysalis is in the open air. (If you have used an aquarium this is not necessary) Check on it often and remember to count its golden spots. Before long, the chrysalis will lose it's beautiful green and turn dull and dark. Nothing is wrong, when that happens, it's not dying it's changing again. You should start checking on it more often
When the chrysalis eventually turns clear, with black and orange showing through, stay nearby. The butterfly inside will soon crack the chrysalis. Then the wings will emerge, followed by the whole butterfly. Let it take its time to stretch and dry before flopping away. Look carefully. What has happened to the golden spots?
|Sheri Ann Richerson|