Foster Cat : Our first black swallowtail caterpillar of 2019!

It began with a little egg or two with the kiddos checking on them every morning and after school to make sure they were still there! The pest control insects and birds have been very active in our garden and you just never know.

Waiting to be someone’s snack…

Then we counted three tiny caterpillars munching (and napping) away…

The kids made their daily counts of our three… until there were two… then one. And after much pleading…

A real challenge to photograph all three without a macro lens and Texas winds.
It is tornado season.
Foster cat.

I agreed to take on one more black swallowtail “cat” with the kiddos. We figure the mother of this child would want at least one of her babes to survive. Care instructions include: a baby food jar filled with water (paper towel topper to prevent scat from falling in) with fresh fennel cuttings as needed. We placed a stick in the terrarium just in case the cat wants to climb to the top to create its chrysalis later on (or make its home on the stick). Curiosity, regular observation and occasional dumping of the droppings is the only other care required that I can think of. So a great starter “pet” for the kids, and for parents one that is happily returned to the wild blue yonder.

Full care instructions from the Texas Butterfly Ranch here:

And here is a more pictorial guide from

This guy is getting large and very cozy eating up to three stalks of fennel per day! As long as we don’t brush its back against anything, we don’t have to smell its scent horns – watch out for those stinkers!


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