Winkle and Others

 My mother was finding these little red fellas in knots even bigger that this one for days in her garden and didn’t know what they were…

 and then i found some of the grown-ups! Box Elder Bugs! The babies are called Nymphs.

 We decided this one is a “teenager” halfway between nymph and adult.

And now I’d like to introduce you to our friend, Winkle. Winkle was our first true Creature Rescue in true Kratt Brothers’ Style!

 Do you see that wrinkle in the top corner of his right wing? (We did our research and Winkle is male)  That is how he got his name and why he could not fly!  We thought at first that perhaps he had been stepped on but he definitely wasn’t injured so then we thought maybe he had just come out of his chrysalis and wasn’t finished developing his wings but it didn’t take long to realize that this was just how Winkle was.

 Winkle looks pretty relaxed with his wings all spread out.  He must have known he was in good hands.

 Winkle was so weak that he didn’t try to fly away much.  He just relaxed on the kid’s hands. We figured it would be best to put him on a flower not knowing what he’d like but he’d be safe.

It seems like his instincts kicked in because he changed his posture on the flower.  Look at how his markings work as camouflage: those eye-like markings scare off predators!

we did more research and found out the best we could do for Winkle was to try offer sugar water on a cotton ball.  He was so weak that he didn’t unfurl his probiscus so we had to use a toothpick to help him.  Once he got started he ate ravenously!  We found out that butterflies process their food quickly because he almost immediately started to pee all over Cassidy!  That’s why there is a wash cloth in the second photo.  Winkle continued to pee sometimes every few seconds and I don’t mean a trickle but a shot!  Talk about rolling up one’s sleeves and getting dirty!  We all got a serious butterfly education through our dear Winkle.  I let the children decide whether we should put Winkle in our butterfly house and take care of him or let him “live free and in the wild”.  We discussed the ethical quandary and they chose to keep him safe with us.  He died with in a week but he taught us so much!  We learned how to feed and care for him and watched him try to fly in the house.  We learned how wings work and how they don’t.  We learned about freedom and safety and how they don’t always coexist.  We had the opportunity to spend a week close up with a creature with whom our time would normally have been even more fleeting. We learned that butterflies pee like mad and that they are not afraid to climb into a little girl’s mouth.  Thank you, Winkle!