Caravanning With Exotic Pets

by Richard Adams

My story is perhaps rather different to other contributors here because my interest is not so much dogs or even cats but rather the more unusual types of pets - things like lizards, snakes and tarantulas!

Fortunately while I have friends and family who are perfectly happy to keep an eye on my exotic pets from time to time, meaning that most of my critters can be left at home, the various insects that I keep and breed require far more care on a daily basis so I normally opt to take these away with me.

Caterpillars are a case in point, which I often rear partly as a hobby and partly so that I can release captive-bred, native butterflies of the rarer species back into nature and, I hope, in doing so help to to by bit to curb the dwindling numbers of many of our most beautiful (yet sensitive) butterfly species.

But rearing caterpillars requires considerable time and effort. They must either be maintained on pot plants or else fed on the cut leaves of their larval foot plant. This is especially so for the smaller caterpillars and so it's necessary to clean them and change the food on an almost daily basis to keep them fit and healthy - which means I often take them away on holidays with me during the warmer months!

I have, of course, had some rather strange looks on camp sites and caravan sites as I go about my daily duties, going out foraging for their food plants and then coming back with carrier bags full of what most people would call "weeds". However the youngsters I meet on my travels always seen to be fascinated with a man who keeps hundreds of caterpillars and they seem to possess a never-ending supply of questions for me!

Overall I find that caterpillars and butterflies travel very well and as a result I rarely lose any specimens at all. Furthermore while some people would find this amount of dedication tiring while away on a trip I personally find it calming - not just knowing that my pets are safe and sound and being properly cared-for, but also being able to watch the spectacle of adult butterflies hatching from their cocoons from the comfort of my own little caravan!

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