What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

hickory horned devil
My daughter found a very large hickory horned devil 2 days ago. I found a little information but not anything about how to keep it while waiting for it to come to the adult stage before becoming a royal walnut moth (2 years!)We homeschool and I was hoping to keep it and learn as much as we could from this amazing creature. Please tell me what else I can do for him…. We have him in an extra large (maybe 5 gallon) plastic bug container. We are giving him water on a cotton ball daily. We are giving him fresh leaves twice daily. We put dirt on one side of the container (about 5 inches deep). I had read that they will need to go underground to form their chrysalids. He’s been crawling around everywhere and doing great. He’s almost 6 inches long! Last night he dug a hole and was in it all day. I thought he had begun to chrysalid. Later, this afternoon he came out and he has shrunk! He’s about half the size he was earlier! Is this normal or is he dying? He has since crawled back into his hole. Thanks for the wonderful website and any information you have for me will be great!
Blessings,
Melanie Doris

Hi Melanie,
What a wonderful letter. It sounds like you are doing everything correctly. I would advise to not keep the soil too dry nor too damp once the pupa forms. Keep is sheltered, but guard against a deep freeze. It will need the cold, but in the ground with a snow cover, the pupa does not freeze. Perhaps keep it in a garage with some insulation. Patience is the key. Good Luck.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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