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Tobacco Hornworms

Posted by Mrscahall 7 (My Page) on
Fri, Jul 26, 13 at 10:17

I found two of these guys in my bushes last weekend, one was roughly 4 inches and the other was roughly 3 inches. My two kids were extremely interested in them and after looking on the internet and determining that they were not dangerous, we captured them. I looked more information up on them and came to the conclusion they were tobacco hornworms, I am not sure if this correct after seeing that my little guys have green horns. I thought they burrowed underground so we added dirt to the tank. The largest one went into the ground the next day (this was roughly 3 or so days ago). I decided to check on him and discovered he is still a caterpillar, I thought he would have gone into a cocoon by now. A startling thing though is the smaller one did the craziest thing. He shrank! No joke, he went from 3 inches long to the size of a normal caterpillar. How is this possibly? Could anyone help me? Also why did the larger one burrow and not shrink?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Tobacco Hornworms

Did you capture them to raise them? Caterpillars have their own time frame for growth and development and don't (can't) proceed through the steps of metamorphosis on command.

To raise them, they must be provided a clean, well ventilated cage and plenty of fresh clippings from tomato plants. The plants I see in the picture don't look like tomatoes.

Perhaps your captives have starved? You haven't given us enough information about their environment.

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