I need some help with my caterpillar. I have two young caterpillars which hatched a while ago and I have one big one that doesn’t want to eat.

He/she stopped eating 5-6 days ago which I know because I always take the bad leaves out and put the new ones back in. Anyway there are no pieces of frass (excrement) or any bite marks. Sometimes I look for them and they will be under the soil and this started after they moulted. The little guy turned a darker colour then he/she turned back.

I'm wondering if the cap on its face is still on stopping them from eating or even losing their memory as I have heard that can happen. I'm really worried about it. I want to do whatever I can do about it and know what it is. Also he is too small to be turning into a butterfly.

  • 3
    A photo might help in judging whether there is a stuck cap or not.
    – JAD
    Commented Jul 3, 2018 at 8:52
  • 3
    Don't caterpillars turn into moths or butterflies at some point? Maybe he's preparing for this.
    – Shannon
    Commented Aug 16, 2020 at 1:33

1 Answer 1


Is this something you have done before? I’m guessing you initially found eggs on the leaves of a plant such as Milkweed. If you have done this before, did you place a stick across the container so the caterpillars could create their cocoon when ready? I saw you state you give fresh leaves and you clean their space of waste, so it appears you are doing everything right. I don’t have soil in my container and each egg is placed in their own container where they transform to a caterpillar, then the caterpillar will attach to the twig which lays across the container and the cocoon dangles from the twig until the Monarch butterfly reveals itself. I’ve never heard of the memory loss you mentioned. I have not had any caterpillars die but have had one or two cocoons that stopped growing and eventually turned almost necrotic and dropped.

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