Raise Your Own Caterpillar Instructions


(Photo by Ricardo Thomas / The Detroit News)

Now that you have purchased your butterfly kit, it’s time to watch the magic unfold before your very eyes! The instructions below are for our individual butterfly kits (purchased at one of our events or via a fundraiser) but they can easily be applied to larger classroom kits.

The remarkable butterfly transformation happens in three stages:

  • Stage 1: Caterpillar (7 to 10 Days)
    • Enclosed is a cup with two caterpillars inside. The goal of the kit is to hatch one butterfly; statistically 70% will hatch two.
    • Each cup has a paper cover and food on the inside walls. This food is sufficient nutrition to bring the caterpillars through maturation.
    • LEAVE THE LID ON! – Feel free to open the lid and make as many observations through the day that you like. However, make sure you always replace the paper and lid. The food will dry out if the lid is left off. Don’t worry, the caterpillars get enough air.
  • Stage 2: Pupa or Chrysalis (7 to 10 Days)
    • The caterpillars will attach themselves to the paper cover and mutate into pupa form.
    • Once the pupa has formed, carefully remove the paper and trim it to a smaller size (like a quarter). Tape the paper to the top inside of your cardboard caterpillarĀ habitat box. DO NOT DETACH THE PUPA FROM THE PAPER.
  • Stage 3: Butterfly (2 to 4 Weeks)
    • When the butterfly begins to hatch a red fluid will excrete from the pupa. THIS IS NORMAL!
    • Allow the butterflies wings to fully dry before handling.
    • Place a small dish of Gatorade and/or a slice of cut orange in the butterfly box for food.
    • You can give your butterfly more space by transferring it to a pop up habitat, which gives you excellent opportunities to observe its behavior.
    • We recommend releasing the butterfly within two weeks, weather permitting.


  • DO NOT keep the habitat in direct sunlight.
  • DO NOT place the habitat on a windowsill.
  • LEAVE THE LID ON unless making an observation.
  • Average room temperature is ideal.

For questions, more information or butterfly facts, call 248-885-0447.