Thursday, May 10, 2012

Butterfly C.S.I.

One of the girls got a butterfly garden for Christmas from her aunt.  I thought that seemed like a good gift; I like butterflies and gardens.  Know what I don’t like?  Worms.  Wanna know another word for a worm?  Caterpillars.

That’s how it came to be that my husband took over this gift/project of butterfly farming with the twins.  They ordered live caterpillars and they came in the mail.  I found that unsettling.  I don’t like that we can receive living creatures via post.  What if someone mails us live squirrels or bats or something?  I’ve been checking the mail incessantly, at least once a day, waiting on my school track assignment, so if something’s gonna come flying out of there, I’ll be the victim.

Anyway, all my husband really had to do was open the box and wait.  They came in a ventilated plastic container that had their food.  They crawled around and ate and eventually, as lots of exercise and food does to any of us, they got sleepy.  They made their chrysalis, which is not to be confused with cocoon, apparently, my second grader informed me, because chrysalis is for butterfly and cocoon is for moths.  There was some elementary science mumbo jumbo about pupa that I might’ve tuned out because I still had a dinner to make.

My husband’s one job was to transfer the chrysalises to the butterfly garden after a few days, but before they turned into butterflies.  Today, I was working on something at the computer and saw the plastic container sitting on the top of the desk with two very upset butterflies on life support.  I panicked, had a Silence of the Lambs flash of butterflies being pulled out of people’s throats, then called The Voice of Reason at work.

“What’s going on with the butterflies?  Are they supposed to be in the container still??!!!???”  He started working on some kind of self-defense to explain his oversight in court, but didn’t immediately tell me what to do.  Luckily, Reckless was prepared!  She ran like an ER doctor into surgery, to retrieve the butterfly garden.  We rushed outside, on the off chance they would be able to fly, and opened the plastic container.

One of the butterflies was either dead or catatonic and I didn’t know how to take his pulse to find out which, so I transferred the one showing signs of life first.  I got wrapped up in some kind of sticky spider web type thingy he was caught in and cringed.  (No, I don’t want to know what it really was, and no, I wasn’t totally “wrapped up”, like head to toe, it was just on two of my fingers.)

At the point that I rescued butterfly number one, the three remaining chrysalis started to shake.  And not a little, like it could’ve been a breeze blowing them.  This was more like the seismic activity of an earthquake.  And that’s when I noticed the blood!  I’m not kidding.  I don’t know if it was blood of the ones trying to be born, or the ones that hatched earlier in the day, but I really don’t think there was supposed to be BLOOD!  It kept getting more and more like Silence of the Lambs.

I moved the comatose butterfly, a.k.a. Butterfly 2, into the “garden” and then dropped the shaking bleeding mummy ones into the bottom.  I zipped it up and ran inside to wash my hands.  What had we done?  My family.  Did we order innocent butterflies to slaughter?  It’s still touch and go out there for who might survive.  Reckless, in her limited veterinary training, is working tirelessly to save them and Stretch is periodically going out to wipe Reckless’ brow and get updates for the family. 

My husband and I haven’t handled a fish or butterflies very well, so we definitely shouldn’t be trusted with a dog.  Actually, come to think of it, we probably shouldn’t have been trusted with three kids.Photobucket

1 comment:

  1. This was extra funny to me since we have done the butterfly routine here. Totally know everything you are talking about from first hand experience...except the leaving them in the container too long. I hope most lived!