I warned you before that if you didn’t read the previous posts to this series you might get pregnant or warts.

I would like to apologize for this.  You will not get pregnant nor grow warts if you don’t read the previous posts on How to Raise  a Monarch Butterfly.

I don’t think.  In a world where eggs become caterpillars, caterpillars become blobs of goo and goo becomes a butterfly, who can be sure?  I’m fairly confident you could get a rash at the very least.  So read the previous posts 1, II, III and IV.
How to Raise a Monarch Butterfly Part 5

Very little happens in the 10 days the Monarch is in its chrysalis stage.  Nothing in fact.



And then on Day 9 …


On the evening of the 9th day your chrysalis will start to turn clear. You’ll be able to look right through the chrysalis at the butterfly inside.




By the next morning your chrysalis will be completely see through. Between 9 and noon your butterfly will emerge. I have no idea why that’s the case, but every single time I’ve done this the butterfly always emerges between 9 and noon.  (the butterfly can take anywhere from 10-14 days to emerge … mine have always been on day 10)


And it will look a little something like this …













Once the butterfly has emerged it will rest for a few hours. It will pump blood into its wings by opening and closing them. As soon as it’s starting to act restless (usually after 2-3 hours) you can take it outside. Just bring the bowl outside, stick your finger or a stick into it and let the butterfly climb on. Rest it on a flower or leaf or branch.

It may rest a tiny bit more before flying away forever.

You will be sad.  And you will be happy.

The Butterfly Effect.

(def) the phenomenon whereby a small change at one place in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere. It is the idea that a butterfly’s wings might create tiny changes in the atmosphere which may ultimately change the path of your life.

A butterfly can theoretically, with one small movement, alter the course of the universe forever.

Right now you’re probably thinking how extraordinary it is that a butterfly has the power to create change in the world.

Even more extraordinary is the fact that you have the power to create a butterfly.



  1. Kathleen says:

    Fascinating reading. Thank you, Karen.

    And I only read all the posts so that I didn’t fall pregnant. Warts I can live with! 🙂

  2. whitequeen96 says:

    What BEAUTIFUL photography! I remember the green chrysalis from before; it looks bejeweled with the gold spots. I don’t remember the other ones, but they’re also gorgeous. Breathtaking!

  3. Kris says:

    That last paragraph was worth reading all five posts even if you didn’t raise a butterfly. A beautiful metaphor for life.

  4. Teresa Jennings Richardson says:

    What an awesome science project this could be for a kid over the summer. A wise parent could make quite an adventure out of it, allowing and encouraging their child to document each step of the event from gathering the egg to feeding the baby worm to watching him grow to seeing him hanging around to the great release. I have thoroughly enjoyed your venture raising your baby and letting us have a peek. I think man must have first gotten the idea for stained glass windows from admiring a butterfly wing. I wonder what kind of creature those hateful tomato worms morph into? But I don’t wonder enough to let one hang around long enough to find out. I prefer my tomatoes. Thank you for sharing your amazing butterfly adventure with us.

  5. Dorothy DeYoung says:

    I’m sure I’m not the first to recommend Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver. Its a beautifully written illustration of the butterfly effect.

  6. KathyB says:

    I remember the first time I saw a monarch chrysalis with it’s gold trim. Gold! Metallic gold! I was blown away. Of course I did do some drugs in the 60s so I’m pretty easily blown away. But still. I don’t raise monarchs but I leave all the milkweed plants on our property undisturbed. Groovy.

  7. Julia says:

    Nothing but miraculous. Thanks for the details 🙂

  8. Nicole Brassard says:

    Thank you for sharing this awsome and beatiful project.

  9. Dale says:

    Yesterday I found a Monarch that had just come out of a chrysalis and was flexing its wings. It had been hanging on a chain link fence so I carried it to zinnia flower in our raised flower bed. Shortly thereafter, we saw it dancing around almost all of our 40 plus milkweed plants we have been tending for the arrival of the Monarchs. We assume she was laying eggs though we could not find any on the leaves she had been placing her lower abdomen. Last year we raised 8 caterpillars to butterfly. Was she a descendant of that kaleidoscope?
    By the way, thank you Karen, as we were searching last summer for info on how to raise a Monarch, we found your Uber-informative postings and have been an avid follower of your take on this fantastic journey we call…… life!

  10. LINDSAY CUDINI says:

    You are amazing! I never knew any of the things you have revealed in this series of articles. Thank you so much!
    I now pick up milkweed pods and release them to grow in various areas of our yard. I have only seen one Monarch butterfly this year.

  11. Barbie says:

    This is totally on my bucket list…..

  12. Jennie Lee says:

    I would say that the fact that your butterflies consistently come out of the chrysalis early, on day 10, implies that you are a very caring and nurturing butterfly caretaker, Karen. You should be proud!

  13. Dale says:

    Make sure those caterpillars don’t fall in the chicken coop or they will be gone in a peck…gulp!!!!

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