Newly hatched butterflies

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  • #52636


    Hi, I have 1 monarch butterfly that hatched from its cocoon 2 days ago. I haven’t released it yet as it’s raining and I’m waiting for a good sunny day. The butterfly is kept in a room inside our house but unfortunately our dog managed to break into the room and attacked the little poor thing this morning. The butterfly is still alive. But his wings are kinda damaged, on the bottom left wing there is a small rip (which forms a half circle hole at the bottom) and some of the scales have came off on all wings. It’s such a pain to see. We have put our dog outside in the garage now. An hour later there was some sunshine so I took the butterfly outside and put him in the sun, about 15 minutes later he flew right up and over the fence.. he flew all the way to the other side of the road but then dropped to the ground on the footpath (this is the first time I’ve seen him fly that far since he hatched). I picked him up and brought him back inside as I didn’t want him to get stood on. It’s started raining again now. I put him in a little box and he was walking around for ages, and was feeding on watermelon and sugar water. He seems healthy and active. But I’m really worried about his wings. I’m planning to release him in a couple of days as the weather forecast shows it will be hot and sunny then. Will he be able to fly and survive then? His wings are damaged but not too damaged, some of the scales have come off and there are some small bits that you can see right through his wings (not holes, but transparent) I have a picture but not sure where I can upload it. I have been careful with his wings when moving him around, I don’t touch them as I don’t want them to get any worse. Is there anything else I can do? Is it possible to fix his wings some how? I’m just really hoping he’ll be able to fly away as normal when I release him. Please help 🙁 he’s kept in my room in a box with fruits and leaves at the moment, with the curtains closed as I’ve done some research and found that butterflies like it dark. I’ve left a small window open so that there’s some air. It’s about 16 degrees here, but it’s quite cold in my room with the window open. What temperature do butterflies like? Should I put a heater in my room or? What should I do about this situation?

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  • #52640


    Hi William

    I have seen butterflies who during their ‘maiden’ flight then drop to the ground –
    I’ve always just picked them up, put them safe on a branch in the sun then off they go when they are ready.
    I think it just takes them a while to get the full use of their wings in order to be able to stay aloft for longer. Sometimes they need a little practice!
    Sounds like you are looking after your little butterfly really well, good luck.



    Hi Jacqui, thanks for your reply. I will keep the butterfly inside for now, until the weather is nice. I’ve seen videos on how to fix broken butterfly wings, but these ones aren’t broken. They just have a lot of scales missing. They are also small rips at the bottom of the wings but I don’t think this affects its ability to fly? As he was able to fly all the way to the other side of the road earlier.. not sure why he dropped and wouldn’t fly after that though.. that’s my concern



    Hello Wiliam

    Indoors we like to have our home warm and dry – while outside it’s probably COLD and you tell us wet. So we need to communicate to the butterfly that it’s not good flying weather: outdoors it may be WET and WINDY (which of course we don’t want to expose it to) but if it’s somewhere COOL and DARK it will get the message. I suggest you put it in a cardboard box or carton (definitely not plastic) and put it in the coolest part of the house – or even outdoors in a garage or shed if you’re sure it will be safe from rats and mice.

    Butterflies need heat and light to be able to fly. When they’re warm and in bright conditions it is natural for them to search out nectar and then mate… so keep them cool and in the dark.

    BTW butterflies emerge (or eclose) from the chrysalis – it’s caterpillars that hatch from the eggs. A cocoon is where moths (and one butterfly species) spin silk around themselves to protect themselves in the pupal stage. Caterpillars of butterfly species make a chrysalis by remove their caterpillar skin exposing the insides of the caterpillar. Hope that makes sense!

    It is possible to fix wings – there is a Youtube video on how to do it – but you need a dead “perfect” monarch to get the wings and that’s not often possible and doesn’t sound like it’s feasible in your case.

    When the weather gets warmer – or in two or three days – I would put it outside and leave it alone. It will undoubtedly fly away.

    Hope that helps.


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