Plump Caterpillar seems to have shrunk down

by Wendy
(Overland Park, KS)

We brought home a swallowtail caterpillar, along with the plants he was eating (dill), and have placed him in a mesh type cage. We put a damp paper towel on the bottom to help keep daily feedings of dill fresh.

He/she seems to be shrinking and pooping (?) a lot.I'm worried he's not doing so well. Are we doing something wrong?

Thanks for your help,

Karen says:
Wendy, no I don't think you are doing anything wrong. I don't know why it would be shrinking, though. Maybe it is getting ready to become a could put a stick in the cage for it to attach to. Also, I am wondering about the caterpillar hanging out on the damp paper towels and whether that is healthy for it. I usually try to put the host plant in a small narrow neck vase with water and change the paper towels, under the vase where the caterpillar waste falls, often so it stays clean. Here is an example of what I mean for caterpillar care. Hope this helps.

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by: Wendy

Thanks for your post Karen- that is very helpful!

Karen says:
Good...I am glad :)

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