Name that animal!
September 2, 2014 7:22 AM   Subscribe

Hi folks, Proxy request by workmate: her son found this in the garden and wants to keep it as a pet. We have no idea what it is or whether this is a good idea, so, members of the Green, name that animal! Found in the UK, the coin is a 2p piece, about the same size as a quarter. Thanks in advance for any answers.
posted by peteyjlawson to Science & Nature (4 answers total)
Hawk moth caterpillar. Makes a lovely pet, if you like insects. I kept several when I was a kid. Keep it supplied with leaves from the food plant it was found on, and in a week or two you'll have a pupa, and a couple of weeks later, a beautiful hawk moth.
posted by snarfois at 7:26 AM on September 2, 2014 [5 favorites]

That's a caterpillar. (Scan down here to the fourth picture.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:26 AM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Awesome, thanks folks!
posted by peteyjlawson at 7:28 AM on September 2, 2014

Just an FYI-I've kept a lot of caterpillars from larva to pupation/hatching out of the adult and had not a small number of them turn out to have been parasitized by a wasp, so rather than having a moth or butterfly come out in the spring, you get...a wasp. It's super cool, but can be a little upsetting if you were attached to the caterpillar/and or wanted a moth/butterfly to show up. As far as I know, you can't tell any of this while the caterpillar is still alive in any obvious way (maybe there's some signs to look for?), as the wasp larva doesn't fully eat/kill the caterpillar until it's already made it's cocoon/chrysalis.
posted by PinkPoodle at 12:35 PM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

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