Monarch Caterpillar

Does anyone know how long it takes a caterpillar to molt? I brought the caterpillar inside because I was afraid the birds would eat it.  It wasn’t moving around at all, but I am sure it is still alive. I think it’s trying to molt into stage five.  I tried searching on Google for how long molting takes, but didn’t find an answer.  


Wow that is exciting. Can't wait to see what happens.


One page I found says that they can sit in one spot from 28-48 hours before they actually shed their skin going from one instar to the next, so that might be what it is doing. 

https://monarchbutterflygarden.net/large-monarch-caterpillar-care/


Morganna said:
Wow that is exciting. Can't wait to see what happens.

 Me too!  I’ll post pics if I can.  


spontaneous said:
One page I found says that they can sit in one spot from 28-48 hours before they actually shed their skin going from one instar to the next, so that might be what it is doing. 
https://monarchbutterflygarden.net/large-monarch-caterpillar-care/

Thanks for this link!  He is still in the same position this morning.  It’s been 48 hours, but perhaps he is in no rush.   


Do you need fresh milkweed?  I'm heading out to Maplewood today and I have milkweed in my yard (the old school stuff that no one likes, not the fancy varieties from the garden center  oh oh  ) and I could bring some out today if that would help.  Though if it's morphing into a chrysalis and not another caterpillar instar, then milkweed won't be needed


@spontaneous - Thank you very much for offering milkweed.  I just now read your post.  We have milkweed.  Ours is also the plain old fashioned type.  Right now the caterpillar is still sleeping, or at least that’s what I think he’s up to.  I’m starting to think he would have been better off if I left him in the garden.  I’m worried he is injured and that I’ve prolonged his suffering by bringing him inside. Here’s a pic. 


Any updates to report?


Unfortunately after three days the caterpillar was not showing any signs of molting and appeared to be suffering.  I euthanized him by placing in the freezer which several website said was the most humane way. I’m very sad.  Wish I had left the poor caterpillar outside and let nature decide.  I’ve decided to plant more milkweed this fall so they’ll have more places to lay their eggs, but I don’t think I’ll ever bring another caterpillar inside.  


Last year we brought in a few black swallowtail caterpillars from the garden.  Four or five, I can't remember exactly.  One died early on.  The second one right before the final molt.  But the other two or three (I'll have to look through my FB feed to find out the actual number) made it and we released them in my mother's yard.


My wife informs me that birds know to avoid monarch caterpillars because they’re poisonous. Interestingly, the caterpillars store toxins that they ingest from the milkweed, which becomes a natural defense.


spontaneous said:
Last year we brought in a few black swallowtail caterpillars from the garden.  Four or five, I can't remember exactly.  One died early on.  The second one right before the final molt.  But the other two or three (I'll have to look through my FB feed to find out the actual number) made it and we released them in my mother's yard.

 I’m happy to hear about your positive experience with the Sallowtail caterpillars.  Maybe after some time passes, and I’m over the trauma, I’ll try again.  


DaveSchmidt said:
My wife informs me that birds know to avoid monarch caterpillars because they’re poisonous. Interestingly, the caterpillars store toxins that they ingest from the milkweed, which becomes a natural defense.

That’s really interesting and very helpful.  The only reason I brought the poor thing inside was because I feared it would be eaten by birds.  


Sweetsnuggles said:


That’s really interesting and very helpful.  The only reason I brought the poor thing inside was because I feared it would be eaten by birds.  

I never would have known, either. In any case, it was a generous instinct.



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