Q:

How do you care for a giant leopard moth?

A:

Quick Answer

The caterpillar of the giant leopard moth can be easily cared for by keeping it in a clear jar or tank with air holes in the top. It is not a picky eater and happily devours the leaves from dandelions, violets, plantains, willows, cabbage, maples and sunflowers. It is best to keep the enclosure outdoors so that the caterpillar can regulate its behavior with the temperature and daylight.

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Full Answer

The giant leopard moth caterpillar is very bristly and black and features red bands between each segment of its body. It can be found throughout the eastern United States from Massachusetts down to Florida. It hibernates through the winter and becomes active again in the spring, eating its preferred foods voraciously until it has reached the right size to pupate. At this point, it sheds its spiky exoskeleton and begins its metamorphosis, which takes a few weeks. The moth that emerges exhibits a 3-inch wingspan and distinctive, Dalmatian-like black markings on its pure white wings. Its abdomen is a metallic blue color with bright orange markings. Provide the caterpillar with twigs to crawl on, and supply it with fresh food every day. Keep its enclosure out of direct sunlight. Once the caterpillar has transformed into a moth, it no longer needs to eat but instead spends the rest of its life seeking a mate. The full-grown moth should be released at night.

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