1. Education

Caterpillars may be the perfect pets for kids. By the time your child has lost interest in caring for it, a caterpillar will pupate and no longer need parenting. You can't say that about a puppy. Seriously, raising caterpillars is much easier than you might think, and can be a lot of fun for children. They'll watch it grow and molt, pupate, and emerge as a beautiful butterfly or moth within weeks.

Materials to set up a caterpillar housing.
Materials for a proper caterpillar housing.
Photo: Debbie Hadley, WILD Jersey

So if Junior wanders into the house with a caterpillar find, how should he take care of it? My new article "How to Keep a Caterpillar" provides you with step-by-step instructions. You'll learn how to handle a caterpillar properly, what to put in its housing, how and what to feed it, and what to do after it pupates.


January 18, 2009 at 11:41 am
(1) kay says:

i now have a caterpillar and it is called trevor i found it in my shed were it couldnt get anything to eat we looked around the rest of the shed but could not find any more so we didnt know were its family got to we gently put it in a jam jar with some sand, leaves and twigs and it is now our family pet we cant wait to see it transform into a moth or buterfly we think it will be a buerfly as we get loads of buterflys but hardly any moths
please write back
kay age10

April 13, 2009 at 1:48 pm
(2) Amina says:

Hi Kay,
I have 8 caterpillars and it is easy to take care of them. you just feed them and clean their box or it’s jar

May 19, 2009 at 5:25 pm
(3) Cedric says:

I just got a caterpillar on Tuesday May 19th at 5:25pm its so cool

August 1, 2009 at 4:44 am
(4) Tina K. says:

I actually have a question. My kids and I found corn caterpillars in the corn at the natural foods store, and decided to save a couple. One survived and burrowed itself in the dirt in the dirt today to pupate. I know we should let the butterfly or moth free near its host plants, but I have no car and have no way to get to a corn field, nor would any farms want me to let it out anyway, since they are considered pests to farmers. What would you suggest? I am in Sacramento, CA.

September 7, 2009 at 7:04 pm
(5) SamKay says:

We just got a caterpillar on September 7th at 5:30. We love caterpillars and we named ours puffle.Try to find more caterpillars, we are going to. Caterpillars are fun to play with! Good Luck!

September 13, 2009 at 7:24 am
(6) mary says:

i have a catterpillar that was born in date trees i almost ate it then i saw it move in a wrapper it was a closed rapper and i saved the catterpilla thank goodness it was newborn….it actually eats dates what kind of catterpilr is this?????

March 22, 2010 at 1:32 pm
(7) Louise says:

hi i have got a caterpillar that i saved from my lizard as he eats live bugs and i don’t know what type he is and what to feed him. He has six legs at thefront the legs are like bug legs not caterpillar ones and he has no legs at the back. He is very small and hairy could anybody tell me what type it is and if so what to feed it

thnx :D

April 29, 2010 at 11:33 am
(8) Isabel says:

Hi, I found my new friend in the bathroom. Her name is Dora. I want to learn how to care for her.

April 30, 2010 at 11:34 pm
(9) molly says:

i just got a caterpiller today at my dads work it is pretty fat and fuzzy i wonder if it is a moth are buterfly? i can`t wait to see it transform but i am a little clueless about how to take care of it like dose it play or dose it climb a lot is it lazy what are it`s fav food and dose it like rocks and what kinds? i hope you guys who already have a caterpillar take good care of it and hope it grows to a moth are butterfly =) molly age 10

May 6, 2010 at 5:44 pm
(10) kaylee says:

hi i got my caterpiller when my sister almost ran over it with her scooter its name is dino and it already started makeing its cacoon bye

June 29, 2010 at 1:38 am
(11) CHREOYN says:


October 3, 2010 at 1:33 pm
(12) Riley says:

I found my caterpillar in my garage today, he is very fuzzy, I named him Bear, he is in a jar. I cant wait till he transforms!

October 11, 2010 at 9:13 am
(13) Sophie says:

We found a caterpillar at a pumpkin patch. He is fuzzy. He is orange and yellow and brown. His name is Pumpkin. He is a cute caterpillar. We think Pumpkin is going to grow into a big beautiful moth. I love caterpillars.

October 16, 2010 at 10:53 am
(14) kendall says:

Hi I am Kendall my step sister, Lil Kendall, and I found some eggs they are creamish bronish with a little bit of white mixed in it and it is fuzzy looking we believe they are asps but we arent sure can you help us?

Kendall age 12
Lil Kendall age 5

December 16, 2010 at 9:42 pm
(15) Ben says:

I found a caterpillar inside during winter, so instead of leaving her in the cold i saved her. I put her in a small jar and put leaves and stuff in there, but the next day she made a web-like sac. I guess she is a tent caterpillar. But a few days later I noticed green sphere shaped things in her sac. Are these eggs? And if they are, will i need a larger jar to care for them? And how could she make eggs with no male caterpillar in there with her? Can you help me?

December 16, 2010 at 9:50 pm
(16) Debbie says:

Hi Ben,

Only the adult butterfly or moth can lay eggs, not the caterpillar. So they aren’t eggs. When you say the caterpillar made a sack, do you mean a cocoon? Is the caterpillar still active? Some caterpillars will weave a silken case of sorts to rest in during the day, and then come out to feed at night. I can’t say for sure what’s happening with yours, since I don’t know what kind of caterpillar you’ve found. If you want, you can post a picture in my forum, along with some information about where you found it geographically, and how large it is. I may be able to give you better advice then. My forum is http://insects.about.com/forum.

Guide to Insects

March 17, 2011 at 6:48 am
(17) Keona says:

Hi i got my furry friend on one of my grandma’s plant its name is cherry cause when it’s angry these two antenae come out from his head and they are red in colour anyway cherry is not furry and i have no idea of how to keep one anybody help me please :’(

March 24, 2011 at 3:49 am
(18) carm says:

i found a caterpiller on march 21 on the the side of my house on a rainy day. he is almost an inch long and is very brisly. i his name is ned. i think ned is going to be amoth. he just started pupation today the 24 i looked in his jar and saw him at the bottem between two leavs with a few strings of silk around him

March 24, 2011 at 1:00 pm
(19) Amber G says:

Do caterpillars drink water?
Cuz we tried giving them water and they just kinda looked at it..

March 31, 2011 at 10:38 am
(20) Sydnea says:

hi im sydnea i caught a catepillar at day care and i put it in a caje i named them ghost and cornealias well cornealias spun a web over her on the bottom of the cage is that her cocoon or is just around her during the day to rest

thank you,

April 4, 2011 at 10:17 pm
(21) caitlin says:

I saw catipillars at school todayy people were sarouding the catipillar I really want a catipillar where do catippillars live?age8

April 11, 2011 at 6:27 pm
(22) Georgia says:

Hi i am Georgia And i found my Caterpillar on my fence under some ivy… My Caterpillar doesn’t eat ivy leaves it eats Dandelions…I have named my Caterpillar Dandelion, I think Dandelion is getting ready to make his cocoon because he keeps digging little burrows in the mud what i have put at the bottom of the Jar… Dandelion just lays there.. He walks about from time to time but he mostly Lays there..

Thanks, Georgia x

May 9, 2011 at 9:59 pm
(23) cassie says:

I found a catipillar and namd it sassy and love it but my mom dont like (BUGS) so yeah

August 4, 2011 at 8:39 pm
(24) sue says:


August 17, 2011 at 11:59 am
(25) raynor says:

wow!thanks! once i started experimenting with leaves i found a leaf that all 3 of my caterpillars liked![milk weed]
but my monarch caterpiller wont move:[ [he is very small]
please write back!
raynor age 9

September 11, 2011 at 1:50 pm
(26) Bailey says:

me and my friend took a bike ride my friend nearly ran over this catepiller so we took him home and named him josh my friend got to keep him i found one on a walk with my same friend her name is amanda

October 17, 2011 at 5:18 am
(27) ness says:

I have a poisonous caterpillar and his name is Peter. He lives in a jam jar in our kitchen :) x

October 22, 2011 at 8:24 pm
(28) Lauren> 10 says:

So, it’s fall and getting cold. I found a wooly caterpillar in my garage. Would it have any changes if i put it in my warm house, or should i try to keep it in a cold place? Also, can you tell a difference between a female caterpillar and male caterpillar? If so would my Romeo be happy with a Juliet? Could you feed them fruit?


November 5, 2011 at 4:24 pm
(29) Jess says:

Hi my name is Jess im nearly 13 years old and i just got back from a bonfire partyy and i sat on my bed and my kitten was watching a small green -common- catapillar i havnt called her a name yet but im desiding to keep her since its the winter and i dont want her to die but my nans not going to like having a catapillar in my own rooom but shes playing on my laptop but i decided to put her back iin her box because she was misbehaving and wriggling around and being a pain, so after a while i have been thinking -Maybe i should start collecting catapillars- Im a girl but im not a fan on bugs since i had bugs crawling out my mouth yesterday in my dream but i find catapillars sweet and my friends are going to think im a idiot keeping a pet catapillar xD i think i should call her Bonfire since i found her on Bonfire night :)

November 15, 2011 at 9:50 pm
(30) Kassie says:

I have raised like 7 caterpillars and they all went into cacoons. Two of them survied I let one go but I didn’t see the other one and it died. It’s so easy mostly because I have a big bush with leaves all over it. But I’m not sure what kind they are. My nephue and niece call them Caterpillar Leaves. They are hard and green and there’s little poisones berrys on them. But thats where I found my first caterpillar. Do you think you could tell me what kind they are?

Thankyou. Age 10

December 4, 2011 at 3:28 pm
(31) Liss says:

I found a caterpillar a few days ago and since winter just started and it’s frigid outside, I just have a few questions:)
1. What can I get him to eat if all the leaves are dead?
2. Will he be able to make it to spring?
3. Is it ok if I keep him in a caterpillar jar in our basement?
4. What’s the life span for caterpillars??
Thank you! And please write back as soon as possible!

December 18, 2011 at 6:49 pm
(32) Lex says:

Hi Liss, I just found a caterpillar called Halloween in the winter. It’s very cold outside, and I have the same questions as you but I have founds some solutions.

1.) If all of the leaves are dead, do you have any plants outside? If it is not very snowy, some leaves from your garden may stay fresh and make good caterpillar food. Halloween likes to eat grass sometimes, so yours may too.

2.) Most caterpillars will make it to Spring in winter if fed leaves or grass and are contained in an aquarium or large glass container. Make sure the caterpillar is kept in a warm spot where he/she is happy and content.

3.) Yes, as long as the basement is not too cold or too warm and kept away from furnaces or woodburners, or anything too hot or flammable.

4.) I’m not very sure on their lifespan, but it may take them a few weeks or months to form their crysallis. It can take about one or two months to hatch from the crysallis. Some caterpillars being taken care of may die in their cacoon so it is important to keep them fed and happy.

March 25, 2012 at 6:40 am
(33) kelly says:

i found a caterpillar today.ie called it bookworm.good luck with your catapillar.from kelly

April 6, 2012 at 7:16 pm
(34) alana says:

I found a caterpiller to day .I am going to keep it till it is a butterfly.

April 6, 2012 at 7:16 pm
(35) alana says:

I found a caterpiller to day .I am going to keep it till it is a butterfly.

April 6, 2012 at 7:20 pm
(36) alana says:

I found a caterpiller to day .I am going to keep it till it is a butterfly.And I named it Sammy.I made a tree for him today.He does not poop a lot.

May 3, 2012 at 5:51 pm
(37) Mary says:

Hi! I found a caterpillar in my garage! Its brown and brown…I named it Jimmy and people at my school keep on wanting to touch him. is that okay for him? plus,people keep on droping him and im scared if he falls he’ll die:( what should i do if he falls?

May 29, 2012 at 2:17 pm
(38) Courtni says:

Hi! For as long as I can remember, every summer, butterflies have laid eggs on the tree barks and plastic railings near my house. They look like Cabbage White eggs (they’re yellow). I’ve always felt sorry for them because I live in the city of London and there is definitely no cabbage or any proper food source for these guys in my area. And also, few hatch because the eggs usually get eaten by ladybirds. I’m 15 now, and I decided to take some of the eggs and take care of them. I’ve taken care of a caterpillar before, but never eggs. They’re in a plastic container (it used to have croissants in it, but I’ve cleaned it out) and I punctured holes (with a needle) all across the top. The eggs are on tissue paper that it is moist. I have no idea when they were laid and I’m afraid they might die before they can hatch. Any advice? Or info as to why they keep getting laid on trees and plastic?

May 29, 2012 at 7:30 pm
(39) mya says:


June 2, 2012 at 7:01 pm
(40) rabbitboy4641 says:

im 12 i found a green catipilar in my mint bush with another 10 my mom is freaked out by them so im keeped it in a poweraid bottle and poke a bunch of holes in it what do i do

June 12, 2012 at 5:21 pm
(41) alicia says:

My 2yr old found a cocoon and somehow removed him from his little web sac. This was a few days ago. This cocoon is very cute and is very much still alive and is laying in a safe area. He looks interesting without his covering, however, is he too exposed? Is it possible for him to survive? Should we make some sort of makeshift home for him? We’d like to keep the little guy and hopefully watch him turn. Is that possible? If so, can you tell us what we need to do?

June 12, 2012 at 5:59 pm
(42) aiden says:

i have a pet caterpillar he is black and yellow

June 23, 2012 at 4:51 pm
(43) maia Owen says:


how do you heal a caterpillar if its body is swollen.

August 18, 2012 at 1:16 pm
(44) Hannah says:

Me and my sister found a caterpillar today.We wanted to know how to take care of one.So we looked up how.I think this will work so I will do it.(our caterpillar’s name is Mr.Fuzzy.Because he is fuzzy.)

August 26, 2012 at 4:26 pm
(45) Dylan says:

Hi i found this caterpillar on a sidewalk and I put it in a 2 liter bottle with dirt leaves and a stick. Know I don’t know what type it is or what type of leaves it likes so I got 4 types of leaves and it ate 2 types but its not growing!?!? It doesn’t move around sometimes and i’m confused!?! I NEED HELP!!!!

August 29, 2012 at 6:15 am
(46) bea loresto says:

wow this is interesting i have 1 question ”what do you call the leg of caterpillars”
i think i need learn in this website

October 27, 2012 at 7:02 am
(47) yvonne sedonio says:

I have 1000 romansovia caterpellar today. if you are interested to see my caterpellar? just watch the picture later on my facebook.

February 12, 2013 at 3:09 pm
(48) Chaos69 says:

@kay Hi :D I’m 10 as well and i have a pet caterpillar too, its called kitty. I found him/her on the path next to the road and thought it might get stood on, so i took it to my friends place, and got a jar, leaf,twig and muck. I hope it is gonna turn into a cocoon and be a butterfly! every evening i let it come out of the jar for a while. Although I’m going to get a bigger home for it soon,
Alysia Age 10 :D DDD

February 19, 2013 at 2:52 am
(49) Animal Lover says:

My neighbour found a hairy caterpillar.
I searched it up and found it was poisonous.
It was my first time actually looking at a hairy caterpillar!

April 5, 2013 at 6:56 am
(50) LOL! says:

I want to find caterpillars in my garden, there is no grass only bark and there are lots of plants, where should I look, do caterpillars grow on ivy?
if you could reply some time this month that would be very helpful, thanks!

April 11, 2013 at 3:29 am
(51) isabell says:

i just found a caterpillar in my garden and i need to ask some questions:

what shall i do with it is still winter

April 26, 2013 at 10:43 pm
(52) araceli says:

hi i just found a green caterpillar and i have it in a jar with leaves grass
and twigs i check on it every 5minutes and it doesnt eat. what should i do?

May 5, 2013 at 7:03 am
(53) Jacob says:

Hello, My mum just went out in tha balcony and found a catapillar. i have no idea how to care for one. plz reply


May 23, 2013 at 11:30 pm
(54) mona says:

hi I found a caterpillar today it is orange black and furry what kind is it

June 5, 2013 at 5:35 am
(55) Natasha says:

I have a lesser yellow underwing moth caterpillar I found a found a few days ago, how long will it take for this species to become a cocoon? also there is a rock in his aquarium that he frequently hides under, is this normal? how do I clean his tank when it is lined with compost too? please reply asap, Natasha x

July 23, 2013 at 12:33 pm
(56) Steven L. says:

Hi! I’m Steven and I’m 10 years old. We found a green caterpillar with a green head and its not too furry – just a little bit of hair. I don’t know if it’s a he or a she but it likes to eat corn! I named it Cornapillar. I wonder how to take care of it. I know how to feed it and get it to drink, but what else does it need? That is my real question. I found Cornapillar when my Dad was picking corn in the afternoon, close to sunset. Then, when it was inside the corn cob’s leaves. I don’t know how it survived the whole thing and all these machines that make the corn! But I am glad that he’s now in a safe place! This was on July 15th around 1:00 or 2:00.

August 14, 2013 at 4:19 pm
(57) DeadlyTeaParty says:

I found a caterpillar out in my garden, decided to take it in as a pet and watch it change into a moth/butterfly!

Luckily I had an old fish tank with a lid on it. I was going to use a jar; but that jar was too small. So the tank came in very handy!!

August 29, 2013 at 12:02 pm
(58) Evie says:

I have a caterpillar but I don’t know what to feed it can you help me?

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