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bandjzmom

zebras!!!!! i have zebras!!!!!!!!

11 years ago

I am beyond excited. I am over the moon. I planted 3 Pawpaw trees in my yard years ago in the hopes that I MIGHT someday get Zebras. I have seen exactly ONE adult Zebra since I moved here in 2007. Still, I optimistically check those Pawpaw leaves whenever I walk the yard, and today, I FOUND ZEBRA CATS!!!! I found 3 of them!!!! I guess they didn't get the "move off the tree during the day" memo! Now, I need rearing advice from any here who have reared them successfully. i have Elisabeth's advice already. I am wondering though. The Pawpaw leaves are very large. Do I cut them down to fit inside the sandwich Tupperware containers? Am I providing a water source for the Pawpaw?? Oh my goodness, this is going to be so GREAT!!!!!!!! :0)

Comments (17)

  • 11 years ago

    Got a shot with the Osmeterium out! They are irritable little things, and seem to throw it out with any provocation!

  • 11 years ago

    Woo hoo, I am so enjoying everyone's new finds. CONGRATULATIONS!!! I've never seen this butterfly in person so getting to see your little cats is terrific.

    Thank you for taking the time to take photos and to share with us. I know nothing about raising them so I'll just follow this thread and try to learn.

    Mary

  • 11 years ago

    My first time too Mary. I planted one Pawpaw in 2008, and the other two in about 2010. I hoped, but didn't actually expect to find Zebra cats! You are welcome, and I am so happy to be able to come to a place where people appreciate and enjoy the butterflies as much as I do. :)

  • 11 years ago

    okay, I'm very envious. I planted Paw paws about five years ago and the largest is now about 15 feet tall. I have six or seven fairly large bushes and then I have a bunch of smaller ones that I planted more recently. I have seen one Zebra Swallowtail in my yard in the 19 years that I have lived here. He or she was clearly just passing through.

    There are a bunch of them in the park where I ride my bike and walk, so I do see them every week now, but none in my yard.

    Thanks for posting the picture. I have never seen one so large. Normally, they curl up under leaves and pull a lot of stuff around them. I do see them if I disturb the leaves, but I have never seen one so large.

    Congratulations!

  • 11 years ago

    Congratulations, congratulations!

    I've raised them once, but it was the biggest disaster I've ever had in caterpillar raising, so I'll leave the advice to somebody else.

    Sherry

  • 11 years ago

    Ok, I really need help. I have the sandwich sized Rubbermaid containers. I have the napkins. Now, am I supposed to cut the Pawpaw leaf down to fit inside the container and then just place the leaf with the cat on a napkin and close up the container??? Did I get that right? So, no water for the Pawpaw to keep it fresh???

    Tom, I do hope that you get your very own Zebras soon. Believe me when I say that I was shocked to find them today. They really are pretty small right now. I will try to get a pic with a comparison item tomorrow to show you.

  • 11 years ago

    I have a lot of pawpaws to choose from so I just pick leaves that fit. Don't know about cutting them to make them fit. You might do a little experimentation with one getting a cut leaf and two getting a folded leaf.

    No water. Just make sure to keep a leaf in there that feels like a leaf still on the tree. "Fresh" is the keyword.

    Paper towel/napkin in bottom. Then leaf. Then pillar. Then lid. :) Cannot hurt to re-read what Elisabeth wrote in the other thread. She is the zebra expert I emulate.

    Congrats. I'll have to go look at my pawpaw now.

    KC

  • 11 years ago

    Thanks KC! I did just what you said. I went out and cut a smaller leaf for the container. I didn't have any trouble moving the cat. Pretty cooperative movers! So, I change the leaf each day, right?

  • 11 years ago

    Congratulations! It is very fun to raise them. Do you smell the scent after the osmeterium come out? Some people smell it very well some don't. My husband used to complain from across the house "are you messing with those zebra caterpillars again?". I think is smells like fermented cheese doodles.

    No, you don't have to cut the leaf down. Find a younger leaf. They prefer them anyway. There is one study out there that discusses how the zebra butterfly population went up after a large population of paw paw sphinx moths. The sphinx moths defoliated the paw paws, which grew new leaves. These were preferred by the zebra caterpillar.

    No water in the container unless you do have an older leaf. That is one of the reasons caterpillars prefer younger leaves, because they have a higher water content. Keep changing the leaves at least once a day. Change the napkin if it is more than slightly damp. If it is consistently bone dry, either add more leaves or a drop or two of water. The trick is to maintain some humidity but not too much.

    One thing that we haven't discussed for a while is cleaning leaves. I think zebra caterpillars are particularly susceptible to diseases. In particular nosema, a single celled fungus. For any caterpillar I feed, I always rinse the leaves off with tap water. However, with zebras, I actually will wash them in a very mild bleach solution and then rinse the leaves off. You can collect a bunch, clean them, and then store them in a baggie (with a paper towel) in the fridge. Make sure you clean the bleach water off very well. This also helps sterilize the leaves and they last longer in the fridge.

    Good luck,
    Elisabeth

  • 11 years ago

    Thanks so much Elisabeth! I was so hoping that you would wander by here and see this. Ok, so it's ok if the leaf in the container wilts ? I definitely will clean the leaves. Stay tuned for updates. Gosh, I hope I don't get this wrong. :o)

  • 11 years ago

    Good luck c those amazing cats!!

  • 11 years ago

    The leaf in the container should not wilt if it is moist enough. If it is wilting quickly, add some water. I keep my caterpillars near the kitchen sink and would just touch the paper to the faucet. The drip left in there was enough to keep the container and leaf moist. I never put leaves in water for a couple reasons. Mostly because I am lazy but there are some issues with leaves in water. One, you run the risk of your caterpillars following the stems into the water. No mater how tiny the hole is, you can lose them if they are small. Second, I think unless the container is completely mesh, you risk too much humidity, setting yourself up for disease. Also, this method would keep me from changing the leaves as often as I should. They really should be changed at least once a day, Ideally twice, as the nutritional quality goes down the longer they are out.

    It is fine if they touch the sides of the container. They will crawl around and under. As long as the container is sealed, you should be fine.

    -Elisabeth

  • 11 years ago

    Ok, thanks Elisabeth. So far, so good. I found #4 today!

  • 11 years ago

    I've been reading about what I thought was the Zebra butterfly but the little cats look different. Is there more than one butterfly commonly known as a Zebra?

    The one I've been reading about is also called a Zebra Longwing.

    Mary

  • 11 years ago

    OK, I've found a different Zebra butterfly; a Zebra Swallowtail... both are so beautiful! Oh my, what a treat, to be able to raise these little guys.

    Mary

  • 11 years ago

    Yes, Mary. There is the Zebra Longwing, which is quite common here in Florida and then there is the Zebra Swallowtail, which is the one we have been talking about in this thread.

    I have lots of the Zebra Longwings, but the Zebra Swallowtails are much more rare--at least where I live. They lay their eggs primarily on Paw paws, which are becoming increasingly scarce in many places.

    This post was edited by tom123 on Sun, Jun 9, 13 at 23:32

  • 11 years ago

    A treat indeed Mary, and I am feeling very blessed about now. I just hope that I can do a good job with them. I would love to see the beautiful Zebra Longwing too. I bought a Pawpaw at a native plant sale back in 2008 and then about 2010, I got 2 more from the wonderful caterwallin (Cathy) who posts here at the forum. It was on Cathy's Pawpaws that I found the little cats, and I love that!

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