Caterpillars have a special connection with children, because just like the kids, they are children themselves. The relentless appetite and their magical transformation capture our imagination, and the metamorphosis from 'ugly' to 'glory' is the essence of a fairy tale. Eric Carle's 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' was one of our favourite bedtime stories when the girls were much younger, until the book fell apart.
After brief encounters with various critters from around our neighbourhood, caterpillars seemed like the next pet on our wishlist. However, they don't simply show up at your door, and it required a little bit of 'luck' and all of God's perfect timing for me to stumble across literally hundreds of them chewing up a creeper, where else but good old downstairs!
We brought home a couple, placed them in an enclosure we used for some of our previous critters, and I managed to identify the caterpillars as belonging to those of the Tawny Coster (Acrea violacea) from a caterpillar gallery on Nature Society (Singapore).
Here's a little picture composition of our new pets. Enjoy!
|Some of the caterpillars were already quite mature, and we could expect some of them to turn into cocoons within a week.|
The girls asked me about whether the caterpillars will miss their mummy if we took them away and put them in our home. It led to a discussion on how God has set us in families so that we know what love feels like, and how we should appreciate Mummy for all the sacrifices and hard work she puts into taking care of us. Caterpillars may never know, a mummy's love.
|A caterpillar readies itself for the long nap.|
|Within a the same day we saw it hanging from the branch, it had transformed into a a zebra patterned pupa.|
|After five days, the cocoon turns black, signaling that within a few hours the butterfly will emerge. True enough, the moment arrives!|
Releasing these amazing butterflies was a reminder to me that just like the little caterpillars that came to us a couple of weeks ago, it won't be long before these two precious girls spread their wings and fly away. When the time comes, will I be ready to open the cage door and set them free?