The Oleander Caterpillar Catch and Release Program

I have a pretty vine-type plant growing in an ornamental pot outside the front door. The plant makes beautiful pink flowers and was originally purchased to spruce up our previous home while we were trying to sell it. So the other day I came home from somewhere and noticed the poor state of said plant – half the leaves were gone and what remained was crawling with caterpillars. Red caterpillars with black hair sticking straight up all over. Eek!

I like caterpillars myself, but I could not let them destroy my pretty little plant, so I gathered them into two plastic containers (red for Anna and blue for Will, of course), poked holes in the lids, and set them on the kitchen table. Anna and Will were delighted to see their new, temporary pets when they got home. They gave the caterpillars some leaves to munch and carried the containers all around the house with them. That night Jon released the caterpillars in the yard, hoping they would move to another, less well-liked, plant.

The next day I gathered the caterpillars off my pretty little plant again into the same red and blue containers. Jon looked online and found out that they were Oleander Caterpillars, and then had a brilliant idea – let’s take them to some place with lots of oleanders (apparently my little plant is some variety of oleander). Anna and Will were excited that the caterpillars were going to get to ride in the van and go live somewhere with lots of friends and food. We loaded up the minivan and headed to the Savannah Mall, which is bordered by a lovely oleander hedge!

At the mall we scoped out the oleanders and, sure enough, found more Oleander Caterpillars. Anna and Will carefully placed their caterpillars on the bushes, and we wished them farewell, confident that our little friends would be happy there.

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