April 22, 2024

MyNature Animal Tracks MyNature Tree Guide MyNature Animal Tracks MyNature Fishing App

Observing the Woolly Bear

Just about everyone knows what a Woolly Bear Caterpillar, Pyrrharctia isabella looks like but very few know the later stages of the Woolly Bears life.  Over the next several months you can join us here at MyNatureApps.com as we follow Wizard our captive Woolly Bear Caterpillar. We’ll be watching Wizard as he makes his change from a caterpillar into an Isabella Tiger Moth. 

If you find a Woolly Bear and bring him in the house STOP and read this first before you  do anything else!  click here


If you would like to watch the transformation from caterpillar into moth first hand the first thing you’ll need to do is find a Woolly Bear. Fortunately that’s the easy part. Woolly bears are easily found in the fall months seeking out shelter to hibernate in or under. Look outside under lawn furniture, leaves, logs and rocks, your sure to find one.

Keeping a Woolly Bear captive for observation is fairly easy. You only need to gather a few things first.

  • The first you’ll need is a container which can be as simple as a plastic cup to the something the size of a small aquarium. We are using a clear plastic pot liner.
  • Cover the bottom of the container with  a little soil. Use soil from the area you found the caterpillar in. Place from 1/2 inch to 1 inch of soil in the bottom of your container.
  • Collect some grass and line the top of the soil with it.
  • Gather  leaves from the area you found the Woolly Bear in. Woolly Bears use  leaves for food, you’ll want to gather a variety of the leaves in the immediate area. Place 2 to 3 leaves in the container.
  • Put extra leaves in a plastic bag and place them in the refrigerator. Use these leaves to replace the leaves in the container as needed.
  • Place a few sticks inside the container for the Woolly Bear to climb on and to hide under as well.
  • Place a lid over the container with holes poked through so the Woolly Bear can get air but not escape.
  • Using a spray bottle mist the sides of the container and the surface of the leaves every three days. A few sprays is all you’ll need.
  • Place the container with your Woolly Bear outside somewhere safe where you can check on him regularly. You won’t need to  worry about fresh leaves and misting the surface once the weather is near or below freezing your Woolly Bear will be hibernating at this time.

Woolly Bears nearly freeze solid during hibernation. Their body produces a chemical called a cryoprotectant that acts like an anti freeze which protects their organs and body tissues from being damaged from freezing.  Once spring arrives and the outdoor temperatures begin to warm to the high 40’s and 50’s the caterpillar thaws out and becomes active again.  You’ll have to supply it with fresh food again at this point. Find some green leaves, dandelion leaves are great and are some of the first green leaves to show up in the Spring.

The Woolly Bear will soon spin a cocoon and pupate eventually emerging as an  adult Tiger Moth. When the caterpillar emerges as an adult it will have a short life span where it will need to find a mate and lay it’s eggs to complete the life cycle. The adult moth will only live for one to two weeks. They have no mouth parts so they essentially starve to death.

Once the Woolly Bear has made its cocoon you’ll want to place a the whole container with the top removed in a screened in area, this way you will be able to view the Tiger Moth without disturbing it. You can fabricate a small screen enclosure out of old screen windows or just pick up a few feet at the local hardware store.  You don’t need a huge screened area, a small roughly built 12 inch by 12 inch cage is plenty big enough.

After the Tiger Moth has emerged and you have been able to view him for a little while it’s important that you set him free so he can find a mate and fulfill the purpose of his life.  Simply bring the whole enclosure outside and remove the top and he’ll eventually fly awayOnce he finally takes off give yourself a big pat  on the back because over the past several months you witnessed one of the true miracles of Nature.  Enjoy!!

A little later in the year we’ll do an update on Wizard to let you know how he’s progressing and we’ll do a little folklore on the Woolly Bear.




Ahhhhh….. Spring has finally decided to stop in for a visit, I certainly hope it stays. Yesterday was the first big melt and we still have about 2 feet of snow left to disappear. After 6 months of winter it can’t go away soon enough for me. The warm air jarred my memory that Wizard would be waking up soon from his deep sleep. A quick check in the shed and I found him nestled down in the soil under a maple leaf in the enclosure we made him last Fall.  IMG_0451I spent about 3 minutes yesterday making a new enclosure so we can witness the final miracle in Wizards life.

Nothing special really just some 2×2’s naiiled up to make a frame to hold some screen in place. Once Wizard completes his morph into a Tiger Moth we’ll snap a couple pictures and set him free to find a mate and complete his lifes mission.





A quick check on Wizard this evening revealed that he had spun his cocoon and was partially attached to the side of the container and a wilted dandelion leaf.  We had been placing fresh leaves in his enclosure everyday in case he decided to have a healthy snack. The last I looked in on him was the night of the 14th and he was still moving around. That means that IMG_0937sometime between the night of the 14th and this afternoon which is the 16th Wizard moved closer to the last stage of his life.  The image on the right is a perfect example of what a Woolly Bears cocoon looks like. If you look closely you’ll notice they even use their own hair to make their cocoon.

Wizard should be emerging from his cocoon sometime between 10 to 15 days from now.  I can’t wait to see him morphed into his new body and eventually fly away. 

Stay tuned there’s definitely more to come!



click here

Read the following before attempting to raise a Woolly Bear

Do Not try to keep a Woolly Bear caterpillar in your house because you think it’s to cold out. Your disrupting Nature and interfering with the natural life cycle of the caterpillar.  Woolly Bears are designed to withstand the coldest winter. They produce their own antifreeze and nothing will happen to them if left outdoors. You may have good intentions but you are NOT HELPING the caterpillar at all and in fact you may be KILLING IT!

If you plan on capturing and keeping a Woolly Bear captive for the winter then follow these suggestions.

  • Place the caterpillar in a container with twigs, soil and leaves (dried leaves to hide under)
  • Place the container outdoors, NOT inside your house. Place it somewhere safe like inside a shed or screened porch. Keep it out of the direct sunlight so it does not warm up and prematurely arouse the hibernating caterpillar.
  • If the caterpillar is still active you MUST supply it with fresh green leaves daily to eat.  Dandelion leaves are fine as are clover and fresh grass. Replace the leaves daily until the caterpillar hibernates. Once it awakens in the Spring you must supply fresh food again on a daily basis until it spins its cocoon.
  • Misting the container occasionally stops it from becoming to dry. Think of what happens outdoors. It rains, it snows, it’s humid. An occasional mist while it hibernates will not hurt it. Just do not saturate the container in water.
  • Woolly Bears are most active and night and sleep during the day.  It doesn’t mean it’s dead if it doesn’t move.
  • Once it spins its cocoon it may take from 1 to 3 weeks to emerge as a Tiger Moth.
  • Some Woolly Bears may spin their cocoon and remain inside that over the winter.
  • Remove any droppings that start to build up in the container while the caterpillar is active.
  • You must let the adult moth go free outdoors to complete its life cycle. It will find a mate, lay eggs and  die.

And finally worth repeating, Do not keep a Woolly Bear you found in the Fall inside your house because you think your helping it from the cold, you’re not!  It belongs outdoors where it’s cold. These creatures have survived millions of years without your warm house to save them. It’s a good practice to observe Nature but not interfere with it. 


  1. This is so informative and little sad :o( I didn’t know their lifespan was so short! I thought they floated around all summer on the warm breeze. I wish it wasn’t winter here yet so I could have participated in this project too. Next year! #saveawooly

    • MyNature Apps says

      Angi it’s not to late. You could find one with a little extra looking. Check under some logs or rocks and if you find one just prepare a holding container for it and wait for spriing. Thanks for stopping by. : )

      • What will happen to one of these caterpillars if you try to keep it inside?
        We have had one in our house for close to month now and our grand-daughter really likes having him around. How long could he live in our house with us?

        • MyNature Apps says

          You should really put him outside.

        • Andrea,
          One of my students brought in a wooly bear caterpillar last December. We were doing a unit on butterflies so we used the same process with the wooly bear. I put it in a clear container with holes on the top. I put some soil, moss, a couple twigs, leaves and grass we found near the area the wooly was located. I put the clear container under a heat lamp. The caterpillar wasn’t moving for a couple weeks. I wasn’t sure if it died or was hybernating (I had not heard it was necessary to keep them outside). Anyway, a few weeks ago it turned into a furry chrysalis. After a couple more weeks, this week actually, it turned into a yellow Isabella Tiger Moth. That is why I am online. I’m checking to see what we do now that it’s an adult.
          We kept the empty chrysalis because it was so unique. You can see the exoskeleton left inside and the hole it emerged from. Pretty cool to see.
          So don’t feel bad about keeping it. Try using a heat lamp and see what happens (just make sure you turn it off the day the moth comes out of it’s chrysalis. I don’t think it would live very long.
          Good luck!

          • MyNature Apps says

            Pretty much it will only survive a couple weeks, sorry it took so long to reply I’ve been away for a little bit. If he is still alive and it’s warm enough out just set him free and maybe, just maybe he’ll complete the cycle and find a mate.

        • i have a baby wooly bear

      • Hi.

        I actually found one of these in my bed this morning (December 11th)!!!! Yuck. Any idea how in the world it would have gotten inside my home? Could it have hurt me in any way? Thank you.

      • hello! i found a wooly bear caterpillar and i brang it inside to do some research on it and it was only inside for 10-20 mins.and i fisnished doing the research on it then i looked over and had awoke from its hybernation! and i didnt know if it would kill it it if it went into freezing weather then warm weather then back in to freezing weather. if i put it back outside will it go into hybernation and be ok?

      • Anonymous says

        Hi I found a random cocoon out side and I didn’t know what it was so I accidentally dislodged it (it was under a big flower pot) and I figured out it was a woolly moth cocoon so I put it set up an area for it because I didn’t want it to be randomly sitting on my porch. It has now been around a week and it hasn’t done anything. I accidentally squished it a tiny bit when I dislodged it but it is still the shape of a cocoon. Is the cocoon dead?

    • we found a baby wooly bear catipillar and a week before we found a monarch catipillar wich is now in a chrysallis

    • same i actually have like twelve in a giant tub and i have dried leaves, leaves to eat, grass, soil, sticks, etc.

  2. After it has built a cocoon and it is now losing hair and turning yellow…do you still need to mist the are with water?

  3. Thanks! This has helped so much within then last couple of hours that I’ve had my little friend here. Right now all I know is that he likes Iceburg lettuce and clovers! What does it mean when they have long gray strands of hair?

  4. MissChrissyMae says

    It is definitely not too late to get in on the fun. My son and I caught an adult Isabella Tiger Moth (the final adult stage of the wooly bear) and it laid eggs in the bug jar my son captured her in. I suppose we are in for some fun raising a bunch of them from eggs. I didn’t know anything about these creatures until we caught this one. It has sure been a treat. We are going to let her go tonight so maybe she can find another mate and make more cute wooly bears. FYI… the moth is enjoying sugar water. It appears to have a long tube to drink with just like a butterfly. I was told that many moths like to drink flower nectar just like butterflies. It sure seems to be making her happy.

  5. I am curious. I just found a small, tiny caterpillar this morning in my house. I researched what kind he might be, and he looks exactly like the Wooleybear except he is very tiny. But everything I have read says they are “born” in the fall, so I can’t figure out why he would be so tiny mid-summer?

    • MyNature Apps says

      It could be just as anything else in Nature that the strongest survive and the one you found is a runt, or if he’s been in your house for a very long time he hasn’t had any plant material to eat.

  6. Hi, My children and I found a woolly bear a few weeks back, captured it, fed it, and it has now spun it’s cocoon. This is the second caterpillar we have found and raised – so fun! (the 1st was a cabbage moth, very different). The woolly bear has been in it’s cocoon for about 2.5wks now. We have not midst with water – do we need to? When shall we expect it to emerge? We live at the New Jersey shore …. Thanks so much!

    • MyNature Apps says

      You should be fine not misting I. Sounds like your having fun, enjoy!

      • Thank you!! Is there a time frame I should be expecting for it to emerge?

        • MyNature Apps says

          It should emerge after a few weeks if all goes well. I’ve had two pupae here that just haven’t done anything and I’m about ready to give up on them and place them under a log outside just in case they’re slow developers.

          • I’ve notice a small hole on one side of the cocoon …. might the moth have emerged and got out and i didn’t notice? do they burrow out of a small hole? (it’s hard to see inside the hole bc it spun its cocoon between twigs and leaves)!

          • MyNature Apps says

            The hole would have to be close at least to the size of the diameter of the cocoon.

  7. The caterpillar turned into a beautiful tiger moth last night! However, this morning we found 3 tiger moths on the ground next to the cocoon. We had to scoop them up in case our cat ate them. There are 2 large moths and a smaller, not so colourful one. The 2 larger ones are joined together at the bodies. It all looks a bit spooky!

  8. The drugs like Viagra and the possibility of taking them without a visit to a doctor often discredits other good drugs that are not so well-known. Levitra at https://pharmtechi.com/levitra/ is just an excellent drug, and I only can recommend it to you. You will not regret it. Just read the reviews about it on the canadian pharmacy Pharmtechi site and everything will become clear.

  9. Will keeping the cacoons indoors alter the timing of the stages? We began less than two weeks ago with 30 baby wooly bears. We now already have 10 cacoons. Although one looks like a hard red cacoon ( chrysalis?). How long for them to emerge?

  10. i found a wolly bear in the middle of august and now it is september 13 how much longer do i have to wait for it to turn into a cocoon? I found it in my kitchen and i put it in a jar and fed it. It got bigger every day

    • MyNature Apps says

      He should be kept outdoors so he’s subjected to the natural light cycle and air temperatures. He still may complete his cycle before winter gts here but once it starts getting colder you’ll most likely have to keep him through the winter, but outdoors.

  11. Very exciting!! Found a wolly bear whilst blackberry picking yesterday, bought him home to put in our existing butterfly habitat (we raised Emperors last year and Cabbage Whites this year) and the kids are very excited as it’s the first wolly we’ve seen. He seems to be settling in quite well, feeding a mixture of milkweed, clover and nasturtium. He’s about 2 inches long so I’m guessing he must be approaching the cocooning stage. If he pupates now, will he emerge before winter? In the UK it’s a bit rainy and cold at the moment. Thanks in advance!!

  12. This is the coolest thing ever. My daughter came home with a woolly bear from school and wanted to keep him, I told her we would have to find out what they ate and how to take care of it. as we search the wed I found your site and I think it is the greatest thing for kids. Thank you for the time you have spent putting together this site.

  13. Just found one yesterday!! Loves grass. Going to put the jar outside because I have it inside now.

  14. Today doing yard work, I found 18 wolly bears! Is there any reason why there are SO many this fall?

    • MyNature Apps says

      A lot of things in Nature are cyclical or dependent on weather conditions for survival rates. I would just sum it up as a good year for Woolly Bears. Enjoy!

  15. My daughter was given a wooly bear a day ago. It was VERY active all day yesterday. Today it has crawled under a leaf and curled up. It looks vaguely like the pics of the chrysalis. Is it possible there is enough time for it to complete this cycle before winter? We are still having temps in the upper 70s.

    • MyNature Apps says

      A few weeks ago I would have thought there would be enough time but it’s closing in on mid-October now so I’m thinking not. Their still pretty actively feeding right now and searching for a place to winter over. After the first couple warm days next Spring I would start hunting for one under logs and leaf litter to capture. If you do find one pick some dandelion leaves for him to feed on, fresh each day until he cocoons up. It should take a week to two after that to complete the morph into a Tiger Moth. Good luck!

  16. I just found one toady, and I want to keep him. Should I leave the jar outside on the unscreened porch? In my research people have said to put it in the fridge, but I was thinking they were saying that so that they could just be inside for you to see. Also, should you mist the cocoon?

  17. this is very cool creature, in the arctic is can take up to 14 years for it to morph.


  18. I just discovered your website when I was researching the Wooly Bears. Saw more than a few this year and haven’t for many years. Used to play with them as a kid but that was before the days of computers so did not know what their adult was. Read with interest and entertainment all your information and the posts. Thank you for sharing and I will be back to read more of your activities. Nora

  19. hi thank you for all the info. i didnt know about that kind of caterpillar until i walked to my job and found one. today. i didnt want it to die and was wondering what kind it was. your infos are really helpful and make me want to adopt it.

    i really hope mine will work out as good as yours

    cyranova and snooze the caterpillar

  20. My boys found two wooly bears. I’ve been doing some research on how to care for them. If I leave them outside all the time how do i keep out rain and snow In The cage? Should I leave it in the garage? But then no natural sun light.

    • MyNature Apps says

      They’re going to start going dormant soon as the temperatures drop. You could leave them outside all winter and it won’t hurt them. Just make sure that rain doesn’t fill up the container they’re in. You could jut forgo the ones you found and look for others once it warms up in the Spring. A covered porch is the prefect spot to keep them through the winter if you decide to hold on to them.

  21. I have had my Wooly Bear for 2 weeks now. I just found this site that gave me great information! If I start doing these things now will he still make it?

    • MyNature Apps says

      As long as you make sure he has fresh green leaves to eat and water and you leave him outside he should be fine.

  22. My class found a cocoon 9/16…we have it in a pint jar, lots of holes in the lid, grass and leaves, placed by the window to keep it cool, no direct sun, but not seeing any changes. Will we or not? what else can we do?

    • MyNature Apps says

      Pretty much they’re looking for a place now to get through the winter. It needs to be kept outside where it will freeze then re-thaw in the Spring and then spin its cocoon.

      • It’s already in its cocoon. Just not seeing any changes since 9/16. Please help us?!

      • It’s already in its cocoon. Just not seeing any changes since 9/16. Please help us?! Anything we can do or look for?

        • MyNature Apps says

          Give it a couple more weeks.

          • We have given our cocoon a few more weeks…three weeks and three days to be exact! Now we still not seen any changes so what do we do now , if anything?

          • MyNature Apps says

            Is it indoors or outdoors? If it’s outdoors it may hatch in the Spring. If it’s been indoors and it’s been several weeks then it most likely won’t emerge.

  23. I have a wolly bear and it’s 40 cold fall and is it making a cocoon or is it just out?

  24. mommyofthree says

    I found a wolly bear today and decided to take him in out of the cold (we are into the 20s to 30s in wisconsin) and for my boys to watch change. IM glad I found this site, extremely helpful! (:

  25. I’m a newish mama to 2 wholly bears I found a few weeks ago. The eggs the butterfly lady sent never hatched (what a rip off–do not buy from her!), so I was still left with caterpillar food and the cup with paper lining on lid meant for these caterpillars. I put them in–boy did they eat and poop! They’ve been attached to the paper on the lid for about a week now, and don’t seem to be eating much anymore–very little movement. Reading the posts, it looks like if I want to keep, I should add some leaves grass and sticks and put outdoors. In DC area–so just getting cold now.

    Thanks for all the advice.

  26. I found a Wooly Bear a few days ago and I was told to let it outside not to disturb its life cycle. The thing is, it kept crawling over my door as if it wanted to come inside to warm itself up. I was so cute I couldn’t help but adopt it.

    I love to look at it walk around its plastic pot, it’s the cutest thing ever. I sometimes let it crawl over me.

    I keep the pot by a window, and it’s getting chilly outside. The Wooly Bear seems less lively now. Should I go and put its pot outside now so it can start to hibernate, or can I wait until it falls asleep to do so ? Will it hibernate even if it’s not outside ? Where I live the temperature often hits -30°C during winter, so I’m a bit worried about whether or not the plastic pot will crack / the caterpillar will freeze to death.

    • MyNature Apps says

      You should keep it outside where you can check on it first thing in the Spring. It will need fresh leaves and water until it hibernates. Don’t worry about it freezing solid because they do anyway. Woolly Bears produce a chemical that acts as their own anti-freeze that protects their organs from being damaged from freezing. Once Spring temps bring warmer air the caterpillars thaw out and go about their business.

  27. We found out wooley about a month ago. He just cocooned today 10/27\2013. i hope we didnt hurt him by keeping him inside.
    My daughter whom is 9 years ols enjoyed tbis experience as did i.

  28. I found a wooly bear when I was helping my dad rake the leaves, he is the cutest little caterpillar I have ever seen. He lives In a small fish tank and he gets cared for all the time because the whole house just cant get enough of him. I just have a question he has been hiding in his food when ever I go to check on him and I didn’t know if anything was wrong with him or not?

  29. I garden for extra money sometimes I have a green thumb. I was payed to rake a previously unmaintained yard. I found 7 healthy wooly bear caterpillars With good color I might add that I saved,fed and there currently hybrinating for winter. Thanks too this info site Im better informed and there all set. I cant wait to see what they will look like next year. PS if you can taking a raking @ gardening job for extra money during fall is a good way too hunt for woolies and get payed a little something for it too.

  30. Lee Paquette says

    I am in VT and I am active in Woolly Bear Rescue… Helping Woollys cross the street and such.

    I just found a Woolly Bear in my house. I have NO idea how long she has been inside. Will she have enough time to make her anit-fieeze? How do I know when she is Hibernating?

    Checking on her is easy until the S*** arrives. What then???

    • MyNature Apps says

      Yes you should put it outdoors. Once Spring arrives it will start to move around again looking for green leaves to eat and will eventually spin its cocoon and complete its transformation.

  31. Hi. My daughter now has 3 wooly bear caterpillars in her bug habitat. We found the first one a few weeks ago, and he is still moving around a bit. The second one went into a little “hut” shaped thing in the habitat and appears to have spun its cocoon. And the third one is still awake too. I just saw this website last night, so we put the habitat out on our screened in porch. My question is, the one that is now in a cocoon, does that mean it will complete its cycle and turn into a moth soon? I thought it had to wait until the spring. I would hate for something to happen to it. I don’t know how to get it out of the little thing it crawled into, I guess I just have to wait and see what happens?

    • MyNature Apps says

      If you are keeping them in the house they won’t hibernate so you’ll have to continue to feed them and clean the droppings out of their cage. They will eventually spin their cocoon after they go through several growth cycles but if they pupate during the middle of winter what will you do with the moth? The adult moths only function is to find a mate and lay eggs and then die. It won’t find a mate in the middle of winter. The best thing to do is place the habitat outdoors until Spring. The one that’s inside its cocoon already may still emerge in the Spring if kept outdoors. Keep an eye on it and if 4 or more weeks of warm weather nothing has happened then it’s a safe bet that it has died.

  32. I found a Woolly Bear about a few weeks ago. I brought it home, put it in a container with leaves, clover, etc. At first he was moving around, now he just lies flat. No activity. Is he still alive?

    • MyNature Apps says

      Was he eating the leaves? If not he possibly starved and died. Are you keeping him indoors? If he’s indoors and hasn’t moved in a few days then he probably died. Is the container outdoors? If it is then he is possibly hibernating now and won’t move until Spring.

  33. Some posts say that they have observed cacooning at this time of year. I thought that happened closer to Spring or when temps began to rise. Which is correct??

  34. First thank you for this sight. It has been very helpful. My daughter found a woolly bear a few weeks ago and she insisted we had to take him in so he would not die in the cold. After the info I have found I realize it needs the cold to hibernate but she does not want to put him outside yet. We have him in a small fish tank with leaves and flowers. I have put him in our basement in the window were it stays pretty cool. Will that be cold enough to keep him from cocooning? How long can we keep him inside before he needs to hibernate? Is there a certain temp that it needs to stay at for him to hibernate? We would like to keep him inside longer to watch but we don’t want to do that if it would shorten his life cycle.


    • MyNature Apps says

      The best thing to do is keep him in a container with some leaves and soil and put him outside somewhere safe until next Spring or just let him go and search for another Woolly Bear to watch once Spring gets here.

    • MyNature Apps says

      The best thing you can do is keep them outdoors. They don’t die from the cold, in fact they are designed through Nature to survive the coldest temperatures. This is a perfect chance to teach your child that disrupting the natural cycle of something in Nature can have negative effects. While she means good she is preventing the caterpillars from going through the life cycles they were meant to go through. One of those cycles is hibernating through the winter outdoors in freezing temperatures. The caterpillar may freeze solid but it doesn’t hurt him one bit.

      • Just wanted to let you know we put Mr. Fuzzy out on the patio. He is out of direct light and has cover so his house won’t get filled with rain or snow. I don’t think the weather is cold enough for him to go into hibernation yet so we will make sure his house stays clean and he is getting fresh leaves until he goes into hibernation for the winter. Once spring comes back around we will watch him for signs of waking and provide him with leaves and flowers and hopefully get to watch him cocoon and change and then we will set him free.

  35. Hi there

    My friend and I were walking in the mall and found a Wooly Bear walking around on the floor, so we picked it up and later took it home.
    I have him in a plastic container with grass I gave it some honey water and it took a few sips, and I have him out on my balcony in a dark place now, tomorrow I will find some clover, twigs, earth and leaves to add to the container.
    And yes, it is sad that they die once they become a moth and considering what type of caterpillar this one is, it will turn into the Tiger Moth.
    Since I am a photographer, I will take pictures, I have a young Wooly Bear, he has more black then the dark orange.

    This should be a very interesting project indeed. 🙂

  36. OMG :'( what do I do now…. It was alive this morning and I went and checked on it 🙁 and I thought it blew up but it just started it stage to pupa ….. But I had it in the house. What do I do now…. Or is it way to late and I’m some monster who killed it.

    • MyNature Apps says

      If it emerges then set it free and maybe there’s a chance it finds a mate. Either way it won’t live long once it emerges since they don’t have mouth parts to eat.

  37. I wish I came across this site earlier. My 4 year old son has been keeping a wooly bear as a pet since October. It has been through a lot – including getting lost in my car for a week. It has survived everything but is small and scrawny. He looks a little pathetic – he doesn’t have a thick coat. At this point he is active, and I have been giving him plant food every couple of days. But he has been inside this whole time, and now the outdoor temps have dropped drastically (ie tonight its going to be in the low 20s – forecast is for lows in the 30s in the next 5 days). Will it be too much of a shock for the caterpillar to be put outside now? Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    • MyNature Apps says

      If what your saying is it hasn’t had any food to eat until you recently started to feed it then I would suggest you just keep it inside the house in an aquarium until Spring and them let him go. Since we don’t know how healthy he is putting him outside now may do more harm than good. You can place some fresh lettuce or spinach leaves in with him daily and don’t forget to clean out the droppings weekly so the enclosure doesn’t get overwhelmed with scat. This is also a perfect opportunity to teach your child that capturing an animal or insect has responsibilities such as feeding and in this case letting the natural progression of the creatures life cycle take priority over our own desires. Good Luck!

    • My Nature Apps says

      Thats your problem. He needs caterpillar food. Not plant food.

  38. My boyfriend and I were in the graage, cleaning out his car, and found a Wolly Bear. Right away we put him in an ice cream bucket. I went outside to find twigs and leaves…but it’s snow and frozen grounds here (We are in ND). So I grabbed some twigs and branches and dried leaves off the bush. I admit…I had him inside until I read your article. He’s now in the garage. So my questions:
    1: What do you feed them when you can’t get fresh leaves? I did shred a carrot and put some lettuce in there. What about going to a florist for some leaves?
    2: I did change his container and put some soil on the bottom. So, what do I lay on the bottom for him to burrow in?
    3: Any other tips for us? Any ideas? A garage will work, right? We are really excited to help him grow. We named him Luke because I love Luke Bryan.

    • MyNature Apps says

      If he’s hibernating then you don’t need to worry about feeding him. Once it warms up in the Spring then you can gather some dandelion leaves fresh daily to feed him. Dandelions are usually the first plants to green up in the Spring. The caterpillar will just hide under the leaves and twigs so there is no need to worry about him burrowing into the soil. If your keeping him the garage make sure it isn’t heated. Good luck come Spring time!

  39. We’be had our wooly bear since October and kept him on the deck. He was hiding in a leaf and inactive last week when it snowed and was freezing. Today the bear was active again I found him some clover juswondering if he was hibernating before? I’ll keep giving him clover but wondered if he’ll hibernate again soon?

    • MyNature Apps says

      If you had the container in the sunlight it probably warmed up enough to wake him. The container should be kept out of direct sunlight.

  40. I just found a Wooly Bear Caterpillar in my hallway this morning alive and fully active, i have no idea how he got into the house. I have him in a tub right now, do i need to let it back outside before the real winter kicks in?


  41. I found my wooly in the fall at a pumpkin patch and brought him home and he’s been living in my room ever since, I have been feeding him and now he’s in a cocoon and it’s already December, I didn’t know they had to be kept outside! Should I put him outside now or is it too late to even put him outside ?

  42. Hi, my wife works at a grocery store and one of these little guys (or gals) was found alive and very awake in a box of fruit or vegetables. I know a bunch of people have asked similar questions, but hope you can answer me as well. I’m just worried about him (or her). We live in Buffalo, NY and winter is well under way. Daily highs are going to be in the 20s and lows in the teens. He is awake and eating. It sounds like maybe I should keep him indoors and just keep feeding him? I see you mentioned Lettuce or spinach? Right now he seems to be eating a piece of apple, I had no idea what to feed him and that is what we had at the moment. I can set him up in the best possible environment tomorrow. Anyway, thanks so much for your help and just to reiterate, should I keep him inside? What if he starts to hibernate? Should I keep him cool to try and get that to happen? If so, how? Outside? Refrigerator? If he does hibernate, should I then put him outside? And if so, in his container or just let him out and cover him up somehow? Thanks so much.

  43. We just found a Wooly Bear in the house today. It’s 9° outside (Michigan) and we’re afraid that if we put it outside, it will die. Will it still have time to hibernate? Should we try and make a habitat for it and feed it? I have no desire to keep it, but would feel horrible putting it outside to freeze to death. Looking for some guidance. Thanks!

    • MyNature Apps says

      They don’t freeze to death. They survive the coldest temperatures by producing an anti-freeze that protects their organs. They’ve done this for thousands of years. Place him in a shed in a container out of direct sunlight until Spring or keep him in an aquarium until Spring, feed him, clean the cage and then let him go.

  44. We found a caterpillar outside and brought it in because we thought we were helping until I read this site…now there is 3 feet of sow outside and -25 at night…where do I put this little fellow? He’s in a wooden cage now and we’ve been feeding him spinach and giving him fresh water. Now I’m to sure where to put him if he’s suppose to be outside. Help!

    • MyNature Apps says

      You can put him outside in an unheated garage or shed or keep taking care of him until Spring. They are designed by Nature to survive the coldest winters.

  45. We found what we believe is a woolly bear in our house. Just read your information and we’ll put it outside. We’ve been feeding it what you suggest, but it doesn’t seem to be eating anything. I have seen it out in the container we have it in, so it is active. Hate that we interrupted it’s hibernation. Will it go back into hibernation once it is outside? Thanks for all the great info.

  46. I accidentally woke up a woolly from its hibernation, can it rehibernate if put back outside? if not, what do I do?

  47. Just read this and did not realize we should have been keeping out wooly bear outside. Now it’s in a cocoon which just happened and it’s the middle of winter in Wisconsin. I’m worried that the moth will emerge from the cocoon with nothing to eat and nowhere to go. Should I be putting it back outside at this point?

    • MyNature Apps says

      Since it’s mid winter and he just spun I would just keep it indoors at this point, not much else you can do.

  48. Wow im really confused I found a wooly bear caterpillar in my basement and I’ve taken it in and kept it in a small container that I’ve poked holes in gave him some cabbage leaves and some little leaves off my bush. But I don’t know if that is right and I don’t know what to do so what do I do? I dont want him to die

    • MyNature Apps says

      They are designed to survive the winter. You really have to choices. One, place him in a container in your unheated garage or porch and release him in the Spring or 2 continue to take care of him in the house by feeding him and cleaning his cage and provide water. If he spins his cocoon and hatches before Spring he won’t survive much past a couple weeks as they are also designed to do.

      • Ok so we have a garage but that’s in bad conditions so were getring that rebuilt and we dont have a shed so if I put him in a dresser draw on my third floor (it’s unheated up there) would that be ok

        • MyNature Apps says

          If you can’t find any safe place outdoors to place him you could always place him in a container and put him in your fridge for the next few months. Just place him outside once Spring arrives.

          • From an earlier reply that you gave which was stop feeding and set him outside or continue feeding him and i wanted to know which one had a higher chance of him surviving

  49. Hi, this is a follow up question from a few weeks ago. I put mine in my mother-in-laws unheated garage. The doors on my shed doesn’t close correctly and I decided the garage would be better. Unfortunately due to it being a built-in garage, even though it is not heated, it apparently has stayed warm enough and in the past day the little guy built a cocoon. So now I am confused. Should I bring him in and let him hatch or since it is early in the cocoon stage, should I put him in the shed as I originally planned. Will they hibernate in a cocoon if it is early in the process or are his hibernating days over? Please let me know ASAP in case time is of the essence as I suspect it is.

    Also, I just wanted to thank you for all you do here. You answer so many questions and it is very much appreciated! Thanks, Doug

    • MyNature Apps says

      Doug since he spun his cocoon and he was outdoors at the time then I would leave him outdoors. It’s quite possible that he will winter over in his cocoon and emerge in the Spring.

  50. One of these little caterpillars was found in the lobby of my work today. I have him in a cup right now with plans of over wintering him in my parents shed. It is currently -30 with wind chill here and he has been inside for the day. My question is, since he is out of hybernation, do I have to feed him before he goes back into hybernation?

    The bigger question I have is regarding the spring. I want to get him back to the grounds he was born on so when would be the ideal time to take him out of the shed and return him to his home? I want to give him the best chance possible to do everything he needs to do as well as not displace him from his home grounds.

    • MyNature Apps says

      Yes, you definitely have to feed him. -30 seems like a bit if a jolt and I’m certainly no expert but I would wait for it to warm up a bit before I put him back outdoors. You could always place him in your fridge to induce his hibernation and then place him in a safe place outdoors.

  51. We found a wooly bear today on our walk. Why was it awake in winter? We brought it indoors. Should we put it back out in this could weather? We live in the north east USA.

  52. Danice newman says

    Hello! I found a woolly bear on my basement floor yesterday curled up. I didn’t know if he was alive and I brought him upstairs and set him on the table where he uncurled and started crawling around. I googled what to do with him and ended up putting him in a container with a peice of lettuce and a water soaked paper towel. He’s been eating and drinking all day today. I didn’t realize he was probably in his hibernation stage and I likely woke him and started feeding him prematurely. Its the end of January so if he cocoons and emerges it will be too soon for him to be released outdoors. I read one of your previous suggestions to put him in the refrigerator so he’ll go back into hibernation? Will this be ok even though i’ve fed him? And if so, when should he be brought to thaw out? Its below zero here so putt
    ing him outside at this point I imagine he’ll blow away and die. What do you suggest I do?

  53. Ed Hortsch says

    I’ve enjoyed reading the info about these caterpillars and the moths which they become. I’ve wondered if there is any truth as to their coloring predicting the type of winter approaching. I’ve heard that if they are more black than orange you can expect a colder winter; more orange than black, a milder winter. The ones I’ve observed the last three years were about half black, half orange, and the last two winters were relatively mild. The ones I saw last September (only 2) were almost all orange, with just a little black on the ends. This winter has been very mild so far (I’m in the NW corner of Oregon). Coincidence, or is there something to it?

    • MyNature Apps says

      Pretty much from all that I understand it’s just an old wives tale. I did however start my own study this past Fall which I’m going to be repeating for the next few years to see if there may just be some truth to it. You can see my data from this past Fall here. http:/2013/10/woolly-bears-and-the-winter-weather/

  54. Hi, my father found a Wooly Bear Caterpillar two days ago. He came home and it was hiding in the lining of his hat. I’ve looked at tons of guides today on how best to care for him. So far I’ve found a container and added a tiny amount of soil to the bottom, two twigs for him to climb, two leaves, and a tiny amount of grass. There’s a ventilated lid as well.
    I’ve seen a few of them suggesting to take the container and place him in the fridge or even back outside.
    I’m worried about doing the former because I’ve seen people posting their caterpillar never woke up after placing them in the fridge (aka they died). I’m also worried about outside since the last couple of days it was -15. What should I do?
    Our basement is not finished and is most likely pretty cold…I’m almost wondering if that might be the best place to store him over the winter?

    • MyNature Apps says

      In order for him to start hibernating the temps need to be near freezing so keeping him inside will prevent him from doing that. If you decide to keep him inside the rest of the winter your going to have to feed him fresh greens daily and hope for the best that he doesn’t spin his cocoon and hatch to early. He’ll only live a couple weeks after he turns into a moth.

  55. Oh no! I found one in the garage walking around when the temps warmed up from usual freezing to the 50s for the day. Then it got cold again. I had brought it inside overnight. Is it too late to put it back outside/in the unheated garage again? It’s below freezing again today.

  56. Hi. I have a woolly mammoth that I found in October and I put him in a jar with some twigs and leaves. By the time I found him he was slowing down and not eating much but was alive for a couple months. He is still in the jar but he has stopped moving. I had planned to put the jar outside before he started to hibernate but I didn’t do it in time. Now he is laying on the bottom of the jar and I fear he may have died. He has been indoors on a kitchen window sill the whole time and I wonder if it is possible he may have hibernated inside or is this not likely? Would it make sense to put his jar outside at this point? Is there any hope left for Wooly?

  57. Tricia Henning says


    I found a woolly bear caterpillar in our basement. I’m not sure how long it has been in there. I’m hoping you can tell me what to do to help keep it alive until I can place him outside. Its been really freezing and we have about a foot of snow outside.

    We keep him in the basement where we found him. I placed him in a shirt box with some twigs and some spinach ( I read they might eat that). I’ve read so many different ways to care for them but I would like to narrow it down. Any advice on what I should do is greatly appreciated. Thank you!!!

    • Tricia Henning says

      Hello again,

      I’ve been reading some of the other posts listed above. Our little friend was awake and isn’t hibernating yet. So if I put him in a clear container with some soil and twigs and a lid with some air vents, place him in my garage where its not heated, will he/she go into hibernation or is it too late?? I will check on him and keep putting spinach in it until spring for other plants they like to keep it fed. Thank you again for your input. Greatly appreciated!!!!

  58. I found a wooly bear on my sidewalk yesterday just before the dog stepped on it. I brought it inside and made it a shoebox with cellophane “windows” and soil, periwinkle leaves, grass and twigs. He was active for awhile and ate a little iceburg lettuce I placed in the box. I put his box against the glass window in my sunroom. It snowed yesterday shortly after I brought him in and it has continued to snow today. He moved under some leaves last night and curled up. He hasn’t moved since. Do you think he is hibernating and is it ok to keep him in the cold sunroom until it warms up, then put him in the garage? I have cats and dogs outside that I am afraid will tear up the box.

  59. Addendum to previous questions: If it is hibernating, does it still need food and a mist of water every 2 days and once it emerges as a moth, do they need to be released during night, or is any time of the day fine?

  60. My kids and I found a wooly caterpillar in the middle of a big snow storm, about a week and a half ago. We brought it inside (I just found your site) and have been feeding it plants, etc. It started building its cocoon and is almost done building its cocoon. I know you say we should keep it outside. Should I put it outside now? I am worried about the drastic temp change. It is 28 degrees outside. Also should I mist it at this point?

    Thanks for all the information. I wish I would have found it earlier!


    • MyNature Apps says

      I would just keep him inside at this point and let him finish out his cycle of life. If he hatches into the moth let him go and hope for the best.

  61. Hi. I have a woolly mammoth that I found in October and I put him in a jar with some twigs and leaves. By the time I found him he was slowing down and not eating much but was alive for a couple months. He is still in the jar but he has stopped moving. I had planned to put the jar outside before he started to hibernate but I didn’t do it in time. Now he is laying on the bottom of the jar and I fear he may have died. He has been indoors on a kitchen window sill the whole time and I wonder if it is possible he may have hibernated inside or is this not likely? Would it make sense to put his jar outside at this point? Is there any hope left for Wooly?

  62. Hi, we are in Minnesota and had a 40 degree warm up for about a week. My daughter (6) found a woolly bear crossing our patio and likes to keep all things crawly. We put him in a container in our house thinking that he woke up too early because of the warm-up. We were giving him new spinach leaves every day but didn’t seem to really eat much. We would have given him lots more variety but are limited since everything outside is dead yet. Yesterday I looked at him and he’s on the bottom in a see-through cocoon of sorts. It’s like he started to make his cocoon but died in the process since he shed all his hair and there’s silk around it, but I can still see him inside. I’m not entirely sure what to do. Is he dead, should i put him back outside, keep him in the house, just wait….?? I have looked all over the internet and can’t figure out anything else. If you have any advice or knowledge, it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time and your article!

    • MyNature Apps says

      The woolly bear makes his cocoon out of his shed hair. Most likely he wasn’t interested in eating since he was about to cocoon. All you should see is the cocoon attached to the side of the container or a stick or something in the enclosure. If all goes well he should emerge as the adult moth in 2 to 3 weeks. If he does emerge set him free outdoors to find a mate. If he takes longer than a few weeks to emerge just give him a little more time. If nothing ever happens after several weeks then he obviously didn’t make it. Fill us in on the results.

  63. Hello,
    We found some wooly bears in the fall and put them in a container, fed them for a while and then when they slowed down and it got cold cold outside we put the container in a safe place outside. Now it has been mild for a while and we checked on them they still seem to be hibernating. We live in the Okanagen in BC Canada and I was trying to find out when their normal time to make a cocoon and turn into a moth is ?
    Thank You for you article and all the information.

  64. My experience is much the same as many others … we took him in thinking we were knights in shining armor rescuing an animal in distress! Before we found out the truth about the whole deal we had a grandchildren / Granny emergency meeting to decide what to do. The consensus was that we feed the beast leaves and fruit, which we did with great success. At this point I checked the internet and discovered we had indeed done the wrong thing in bringing him in. Quick, quick, another meeting. The result was a frantic search for an appropriate overwinter sleeping vessel. My granddaughter found a clear, plastic container full of cookies. This turned out to be a big plus for the children because, as they happily informed me, nowhere did I find information which suggested that cookies were the favored food of caterpillars. The only logical thing to do was to eat the cookies, which they promptly did. We then landscaped the container and in went the woolly bear. He took to his new home with much enthusiasm. OK, so I am stretching a bit … however, he didn’t complain so I figured all was well. After the excitement of a new pet wore off, I popped him into the frig where he stayed for 6 weeks.
    Last Friday was awakening day. We brought him out of the frig and for 2 hours we were sure he was dead. Not so! JUBILATION all round, cheers and clapping, screams of joy and whoops of laughter was heard throughout the kingdom. (sorry, I got carried away again). After eating us out of house and home for 7 days, last night he spun his cocoon and is using it as a hammock. How long we have to wait I have no idea but when the time comes to release him, we will be sad but proud that he came through in spite of the indignities we put him through.
    Now for a request … our 2 leopard frogs, Fatipuff and Thinifer, have produced 247 offspring which, as I write, are floating on top of the water, eating their jelly overcoats. This is the last of many, many times of trying to get them to progress to frogs. Each time, I have removed them from their parents’ tank (they all get eaten overnight if I leave them ) and, as per internet instruction, put them in another one. The longest I have managed to keep them alive is 4 weeks. At that time, they are tadpoles and very much alive. Then they start to die and by the end of a week, they are all deceased. I used spring water and changed it every 4th. day ; tried feeding them fish flakes, frog food, frozen zucchini, Romaine lettuce … all of which were mentioned on various websites as being suitable for tadpoles but unfortunately, nothing worked.
    Any ideas would be gratefully accepted. Finally, if I can find 245 people to foster 245 tadpoles, (I plan to keep 2), I will sleep well once again. However, you would have to travel to Illinois as I don’t make housecalls.

    • MyNature Apps says

      I would put them in their own fish tank and make sure that tank has an O2 pump. My best guess would be that they are dying off from a lack of oxygenated water. Hope that helps.

      • Thanks for the suggestion … I never even thought about lack of oxygen but it does make sense! I do have an extra small fish tank with a pump so I will try that next time and see what happens. R.

        • Rachael,
          I’m curious to know how things worked out (or perhaps did not work out) with your tadpoles. I am also in Illinois and have tried to raise a few tadpoles in the past, very sadly without success. After the second attempt I figured I must be doing something very wrong and did not attempt a third. I hope your story has a happier ending! 🙂

  65. It is April 21st 2014, found a woolly bear on my driveway tonight… And I live in North East Ohio, this just does not seem right… Shouldn’t it have been in a cocoon and be a moth right now?

  66. Hello,
    About a week ago I found an all black wooly bear caterpillar crawling in the dirt. My kids picked him up and brought him inside in a plastic container with lots of grass, stick, and assorted leaves. Our temps are about 60 in the day and 40’s at night. He was moving a great deal at first but not has not moved at all for the last day and a half. If I try to move him he reacts a little bit but not like he did at first curling all the way into a ball. I never noticed an evidence of him eating any of the greens I gave him. I tried Dandelion, spinach, and assorted tree leaves. Is he dying? Should I put him back outside? Is it common to stop moving before forming a cocoon? Is it too late for him to form a cocoon? Any help would be much appreciated. Thank you!

  67. Hi I had I woolly bear since January . She turned into a beautiful month today. But is very cold out today and tomorrow is going to rain. When should I release my moth?

  68. hello , I love this board is so informative. I ‘ve had a wooly bear since January. She turned yesterday into a beautiful moth. is going to rain today is it still ok to release her today?

    • MyNature Apps says

      Everything in Nature is built to survive rain, snow and sun so you have to let things take their course. I would release him as soon as possible to complete his purpose in life.

  69. I released the moth it was beautiful!

  70. I found a woolybear caterpillar very early in May. I housed him in a large glass jar with soil, sticks, and leaves. He moved around and ate for a couple of days then moved to the top of the jar and constructed a very loosely woven net around himself and has been in there since. I can see him inside the net and he is very thin. There is also what looks like excrement inside the nest. I fear he is dead. I have to confess that he has been inside since I brought him home. Do you have any thoughts?

  71. We had about 7 woolly bears but only one survived to make a cocoon. Without knowledge, we placed twigs, leaves, etc. so we did something right. The cocoon happened on the night of April 25th so in the morning of the 26th my son was very excited. Wish I had read your article sooner because we’ve kept it inside since…placing the container outside occasionally. After reading your article, I fear it may be dead since it’s been in the cocoon so long and has been in direct sunlight. Any advice? Thank you.

  72. Hello. We are in Texas. About a month and a half ago my daughter and I found and decided to adopt woolly bear. It is in a clear container with all necessary accommodations. It wenr into chrysalis about 3 1/2 weeks ago and we are wondering when it might emerge. I mentioned that we live in Tx because we were already quite warm temperature wise when we found it. Was wondering if our wait time for it coming out might vary by location and seasonal differences. My little one is becoming restless lol
    Thanks in advance 🙂

  73. Bad winter says

    Austin, Texas – have killed two this week (July 6).. Sorry but i have 3 little dogs in our back yard. Kinda early for them? Does this bad winter is upon us?

  74. Hi There-

    I am hoping that you can help me out here. I have read many different websites and have read through all of the comments here on your site and am still at a bit of a loss.

    We are in Northern Virginia and found a Woolly Bear caterpillar this past weekend crawling across a stoned walkway that leads down to our neighborhood playground. The kids and I decided we wanted to try and raise him/her, so we brought him home and set up a large “Tupperware” container with dirt from the front yard, pieces of grass, some leaves, small sticks, and found some clover to add in as well for feeding. I poked a ton of holes in the lid to ensure good ventilation. After about a day and a half I started feeling bad that this little cutie was cooped up in this container that was now a bit fogged up from the humidity… So I made him a screened enclosure using two 8″ cake pans (one for bottom and one as the top). I transferred all of the contents into his new roomier and fresh air habitat. The problem is… I’m not noticing that he is eating. I’ve tried two different types of clover so far and have picked different types of grass. I even tried a bit of iceberg lettuce after reading that some people have fed them this. My other concern is that he is very inactive. I know he moves around as I have gone to check on him and find it in a different spot. Sometimes even up on the sticks I layed into the new habitat vertically. When I removed him from the plastic container while transferring the contents into the new home, I noticed he was a lot more active moving around and checking things out, but once he was in the new screened enclosure, he went back to being more or less inactive. I have provided moisture as well as putting in a cotton ball soaked with water.

    Should I be worried that he’s not moving around a lot? It seems to be the same amount of activity whether it is day or night. We would love to keep him and I would love for my kids to experience this amazing transformation, but at the same time, I really don’t want to be torturing this poor thing.

    Any insight and suggestions you can offer would be greatly appreciated!

    Also, we keep him outdoors and although we have no garage, screened in porch, or shed to offer we do make sure that he is never in direct sunlight.

    Thank you!

    • MyNature Apps says

      It will probably be several months until he becomes a moth and that is along time to keep him. As long as he is moving around and eating then he should be fine but he needs to be outdoors to be in synch with the temps.

  75. Hi There,
    I have a ton of house plants. Including a ton of Aloe plants. We found a baby wooly bear caterpillar had hatched in the aloe plants in my kitchen window se. It’s a cool area that doesn’t get direct sunlight and is always in the shade. Since the mother saw fit to lay her eggs there. I decided to let him be to live in the plants. I’m not sure what happened with any other eggs that may have hatched. I only found the one. I’ve had moths lay eggs in my plants before. But this is the first I’ve found a caterpillar. He has stayed in the plants happily for several weeks. I brought in a bouquet of various branches with leaves so he would have branches for his Chrysalis. We figured once he went into his chrysalis we are putting him in an old fish thank so when he hatches he will be safe so we can take him out and release him. I have been on several sites that provide information on this caterpillar and what it’s life cycle is, needs, etc. But until I found your site I had understood they only stay in caterpillar form about 3 weeks or so. But reading this page it is sounding like they live through they winter? Is this the case even when they are born earlier in the summer? If so once it starts to turn to fall I will move him to his secure habitat early and put him where he will be in the weather/temps he needs and be safe for hibernation as you recommend. Can you please clarify this for more. After watching him for several weeks we want to give him the best chance at becoming the a beautiful moth and completing his life cycle! Thanks!

  76. Madison Miller says

    I have had two wolly worms for a while now. They have turned into moths but they’re wings are closed. What do I do? Can I mist it?

  77. We found a wooly bear about a week ago, and just a few days ago it went into a cocoon, but this morning I checked on it and it had two bulging red spots, one lighter orange and one a darker red. Is the caterpillar dead? Or does it have parasites, or something? Im concerned that it has died.

  78. I found a woolly bear 3 days ago on some bitter melon leaves. I am currently feeding it with lettuce and he seems perfectly healthy. But the problem is that I’ve had him indoors the whole time. Should I put it outside right now? I live in canada and the weather is ~17 degrees celcius here. Also my caterpillar eats a lot and poops a lot. and I mean A LOT.

  79. My daughter found a single Woolly Bear, and has had it in her “Bug House” (clear box with mesh on top). It has been in there for several weeks, today we noticed it moved onto a stick we had in there and right above it a a tiny Woolly Bear, (it wad black on both ends with the brown in the middle). We weren’t sure if it split itself into 2, but we did notice that it (the bigger one) was begging to eat the smaller one. After it finished we saw the tiny ones head on the floor and the body was hollowed out, from being eaten. We have never heard of anything like this and was curious if anybody else has. I know caterpillars normally eat plants, buy has anyone ever heard of them eating their own kind? And how did 2nd one form in the House, out of nowhere? Any help or insight would be appreciated.

  80. My boys found a yellow woolly bear scurrying across our driveway in the blazing afternoon sun the other day. We had a small tank from a previous pet, so we put him in it and brought him indoors. We researched his favorite foods and we have plenty of it for him. We keep a moist paper towel in the tank also. We clean out his tank daily, as we have noticed that he is pooping a TON!!! He consumed an entire leaf, which was about 5 times the size of his body in only a day and a half. Other sites I have researched state they make great “insect pets” because they are quite hearty and can tolerate many environments. Our little guy is doing great. We found him in the afternoon, when he’s naturally supposed to be sleeping. But, since we’ve created this environment for him and brought him indoors, he seems to be back on his natural rhythm. He’s pretty active at night and super sedentary during the day. We will release him shortly after he transforms or if we get the impression he is no longer doing well in captivity.

  81. A year ago I found a wooly bear that had been sprayed by bug spray and ended up umm…slightly retarded..?
    Just to be safe,what do I do if that happens again?

  82. Jacqueline Boxer says

    I found 2 wooly bears this summer. It is now 9/15/14 one has spun its self a cocoon already. The other not yet
    Isn’t it too early? What should i do now?


  83. I found a wooly bear caterpillar when I was doing some yard work and I put it in a cup with some dirt, leaves, and sticks. I clean it out everyday and put new leaves in it everyday but I’m keeping it inside. Is that bad? When should I expect it to make its cocoon?

  84. I’ve found a wooly bear caterpillar a couple days ago I’my house and put it on a jar. It’s been hiding and we can’t see it in the cage. Could it possibly be hibernating ?

  85. we found a baby wooly bear caterpillar and a week before we found a monarch caterpillar which is now in a chrysalis

  86. Hi there,

    My kids found a wooly bear caterpillar today and we decided to keep it to watch it’s life cycle, letting it go of course, when it emerges from it’s eventual cocoon. I home school, so I thought this would be wonderful for science! We live in good ‘ol Wisconsin and our winters can be bitter. Everything I read on the website for its care, states I should leave it outside or in a shed b/c it needs the cold to complete it’s life cycle. Great for me! However, when I read all these comments, there are folks who put them under heat lamps and/or have them living indoor in their house plants and the response from “MyNature” was that was fine… so mixed messages. I plan on leaving it outside (or in our garden shed once the snow arrives) and keeping its bug cage “clean” with fresh soil and leaves while active. I just need confirmation that COLD, not heat is what they need. I don’t my little ones seeing a frozen wooly popcicle b/c it’s 10 below zero.

    Also – I have not read anything about giving it water to drink? Just the misting… I am assuming they get their hydration from the fresh leaves.

    Thanks so much!

    • MyNature Apps says

      I think you’re seeing mixed signals because most people that have commented have already kept the woolly bear they found out of it’s natural habitat and are writing in the middle of winter wondering what to do. By far the BEST thing to do is keep the caterpillar outside so the natural temperatures trigger it’s hibernation as well as it’s awakening in the Spring. These caterpillars as well as any animal or insect you find have for centuries, thousands of years survived the coldest winters and the driest hottest summers all on their own. They definitely do not need us to worry that it’s to cold for them outside to survive. As far as water, yes, if you are keeping them in an enclosure they need water and you can place a small amount in a shallow dish for them to drink from or just mist the foliage that is in their enclosure and they will get the water they need from the foliage. When they are hibernating then there’s no need to mist the foliage.

  87. We just found a wolly and we are keeping it what do you thinck we should do?

  88. I appreciate all the info here. I was hoping to keep the caterpillars I found in the library where I work so the kids can see and learn. And I get loud and clear that they’re best outside. Too bad we don’t have a good outdoor place for them at the library. One question: I live in Portland, OR and it doesn’t get very cold here in the winter. Will the caterpillars hibernate if it doesn’t freeze outside? What does the natural life cycle look like for a Wooly Bear that lives in a temperate climate?

  89. Just wanted to take time to say… THANK YOU for running this website. I’m sure it’s a lot of work, however you do seem to be helping a lot of people. (and hopefully Woolies!) Thanks again! : ) Kelly in Alabama

  90. I found a Wooly Bear at the location of a cell tower during work, put it in a container and brought it home. I’m just now reading up on how to care for it. I’ve had it in my home for about a few hours now, in a small container with some leaves from the area where I found him at. Unfortunately, I live about an hour away from where I found him & regretfully did not get any soil from there. Since there is a local park in my neighborhood, I was wondering if i could use the soil/leaves/twigs from there? Or would that effect my little homie’s transformation?

    I also read somewhere that WB’s really enjoy foods like carrots &blueberries. I wanted to confirm if this was true, cuz if not I need to switch up the menu for my little dude…lol

    • MyNature Apps says

      They need fresh food daily as well as water and their dropping cleaned out. The best thing for him would be to let him go in the park.

  91. I found a tiny, tiny Wooly Bear inside my house about 2 weeks ago. He was about 3/4th of a centimeter. I put him in my plants. He made his way to my Amaryllis plant which he has been eating ever since. He is now about 1 1/2 inches. What’s going to happen next to him? Is it okay to let him eat whatever he wants? I would like to see him cocoon but I don’t want to interrupt his life cycle.

  92. I have one of these cocoon’s outside on my front door! Been searching for ages to figure out what it was. It was a yellow woolly bear caterpillar. Can’t wait to see it transform!

  93. Anne Strauch says

    My Wooly bear, named Pickles, will not go away. He showed up on my sidewalk a week ago. I moved him into the grass hoping no one would step on him there. Well, now he keeps sitting on my door mat….he has come back 3 different times after being moved to the grass. There are 2 other unit doors he could sit by but he keeps choosing mine. Today he crawled right up into the corner of my door so when I opened it there he was! I now have him in a jar with twigs, grass, leaves, and a flower. Wouldn’t he prefer his freedom outside of a jar?? Why does he keep coming to me like that?

    • MyNature Apps says

      Are you positive it’s the same one? at one point on time last year I had no less than 12 different woolly bears on my porch. I would suggest if it’s bothering you that much then bring him further away from your house.

  94. Anne Strauch says

    Oh, and…..I don’t want to clean up after him! I finally, finally, finally live alone and have to clean up after no kids, pets or husband. Why won’t he go away?

  95. I found a wooly bear! I’m excided and all. I added a stick and two leaves. But I can’t add dirt and grass. Also how can you tell if it’s a girl or a boy. I wonder.

  96. How do you know if a wooly bear is a girl or boy? Dose it have to have grass and dirt? Mine has no grass or dirt and is living well. I found it today! It keeps eating and eating is that a problem? I’m very worried that it is going to die!

  97. I saw a ton of woolly bears on a bike trail. It was super sad because most of them died in pretty grizzly ways. 🙁
    I was thinking of catching one or two (probably just one) and bringing it home, because I just got so sad about the idea of them getting squished by jerks on bikes. We have a basement that isn’t heated and has two windows facing east. Would I be able to keep one there, just until it turns into a moth? I raised sea monkeys there, and they did very well. One of the really big woollys I saw that looked like it was pretty close to changing? Would it be okay for the woolly? Gosh, that was a sad sight. 🙁 I’m one of those kids that feels sorry for all animals that get killed. :((((

  98. Sarah Fowler says

    I’ve had a couple woolly bears for a couple weeks now. I’ve noticed one of them has gone into hibernation but the other one is very active still. I am concerned about that one because he seems to have something hanging off the back end of him and I don’t know whether he’s injured or if it’s normal. Please help!

  99. It is the middle of winter and we have a wooly bear that keeps coming into our garage. We are afraid we are going to accidently run it over with the car. Why isn’t it hibernating? We had some warm weather (50-60) but now it is in the single digits. Is there anything we should do?

  100. Found a wooly bear tonight crawling away from my wood pile we brought in two days ago. Is it ok to put him back outside? We live in western nebraska Temps now in teens…

  101. Hi there! I’m not sure if you’re still responding. My son found a wooly bear today while with his dad. When I came to pick him up, his dad sent the caterpillar home with me. I researched some things about them and We made him a larger home with soil, grass, leaves, moss, and twigs. Right away he burrowed into the soil. I then read on your website that they should stay outdoors, so I immediately placed his container in our shed. He wasn’t doing much before I placed him in the larger container and he burrowed right into the soil once I moved him into the larger container. Is he trying to hibernate right now? I’ll be checking on him in the morning. Should I worry about him not getting very much sunlight in the shed? Also, it’s in the 40s and 50s here, is it cold enough for him to hibernate? If not, should I place him in our refrigerator? We are so excited to watch this amazing cycle! When I first found out that my son kept him, I told him that we should release him, but I’m glad that I found your website and I’m able to offer him a little bit of both worlds!

    • MyNature Apps says

      I’m all for leaving things in Nature where we find them, especially if you’re not sure what to do. If you want to keep him just make sure he has fresh greens and water. If he cocoons just keep your eye on him and if he successfully hatches be sure to set him free.

      • Carrie and Elijah says

        Hi I wasnt sure how to comment other than on this reply. My son was walking through our apartment hallway and found the wooly bear on the floor. It is Chicago and quite cold, snowing actually and we are not sure how to put him back in nature safely. I just was not sure if he could burrow in frozen soil? How can we best help him to survive in nature?

        • MyNature Apps says

          They actually don’t burrow down into the frozen ground but rather crawl under leaves, logs, rocks or whatever else they can get under. Put him in a container in the refrigerator for a few days until you find a spot to return him to the outdoors.

  102. I found a wooly bear the other day at work. It was cold and raining out( Illinois for you) and it was about 3 a.m. central us time. I thought it was going to freeze and I took it home. I put it in a box, it was active enough to move to where it wanted to rest. I gave it grass and clovers as its still cold and plant life is still scarce. I don’t think it has eaten anything. It has gotten smaller and now it won’t move. Its not dried out or hard, the body is still soft like its alive. Did I inadvertently kill it? When I found it it had bad suction on its feet. It couldn’t stick very well to anything. I just found out now not to keep it inside but I fear its too late. I feel really bad for it as I thought I was doing a good thing but I fear I killed it. Any advice? It was nice and plump now it is really tiny.

  103. Should I place it in the fridge to hopefully somehow rejuvenate it to winterover and release it later? Or should I leave it and let it die? I seriously believe its dead. It won’t move and one of its feet is completely black like its decayed. It also appears to have grey coloring to part of its skin like dry-scalp. Could this be the dreaded OE disease that I also just learned about? With post pics.

  104. Hi wwe found one of these a week ago and i already had a butterfly / caterpillar house.. Is it ok to give him lettuce? There’s no leaves outside yet .. He seemed to love the lettuce but now isn’t to active? I’m reading people find these in the winter so IM thinking he thawed n we found him after..so shouldn’t he be making his cocoon soon?

  105. kid from ohio says

    i think i messed up i put my woolly bear in side and at first the had just tarted and i thought it was a spider web because i put it in a habitat with other bugs lol but i took it out cause i was scared an know he was put in a cloth witch he loved to take naps in did you know that’s where they get the bear in there name because they can sleep for weeks at a time but only question is did he get enough food but any way how should i release him and will he still think he gets free food ?

  106. My 8 year old and I are in Minnesota and have had a warm April. Yesterday we found a fat and happy Wooly Bear active outside when I was sweeping leaf debrie off of the patio. It was very active so we took it in and are feeding it in the appropriate habitat. It’s supposed to drop back to 30 this week and snow, should we keep it inside and hope for a cocoon or should we keep it in the garage or something closer to the weather in order to pupate? I assume we continue to feed it and mist until he spins his cocoon?

    Thanks for the info!

  107. My daughter found a wooly bear caterpillar outside a few weeks ago and we were keeping him in a habitat in the garage. I noticed a few days ago he stopped moving and started shedding some hair. This morning it’s almost like he shed his entire body and there is a little yellow larva looking thing in the but no cocoon? Any idea what it is or if it will hatch without a cocoon?

  108. Magalie Saumure says

    Hi, you see i have a Woolly Bear (named him Woody) and he’s already at the cocoon step. Thing is I’m wondering how long he’ll stay in there? Maybe you can tell me that? He’s been pretty happy, free in my room in all my plants, now he have been in his cocoon since April 30, 2015. So I’m really curious to know the normal or at least how long he will stay inside?

    Thank you for the future answer!


  109. Hi- I’ve had a leapord moth pupae for about two months already. The moth hasn’t emerged. I live in Florida and first kept it inside on a window seal in a jar with indirect sunlight. I moved the container to our patio in hopes that the natural air would help, still no moth. The pupae weighs and doesn’t seem hallow. I can even see the outline of its wing and body. I’ve been reading about timing and from what I gather the moth should’ve emerged in about three weeks. Since its been at least two months, does this mean something is wrong and it has died or is there anyway it would emerge eventually given that it’s been two months?

  110. Hi Im in Southern California Its summertime about 85 degrees. I found a woolly bear in a towel in a laundry pile near the open door to a back yard. I put him in a plastic container with a splatter screen on top and Ive had him a couple months. I scouted for and picked nearly every type of leaf on the grounds for half a mile to see if he would eat any of hem. In addition i put lettuce in with it. I have never seen him eat anything. nothing at all. He cruises up and down sticks and wakes up to investigate new leaves that i put in there probably hoping for some familiarity– but he doesnt eat them. I place a paper bag loosely around the jar to block artificial light and the temp inside his habitat is just room temp. I cant keep him outside because the patio is infested with spiders dropping down from the bougainvillea over head. I watch spiders massacre all the silk worm caterpillars outside and I dont want that to happen to woolly bear. Yesterday Woolly Bear wasnt on his stick and I saw a single black ant in his cage! now he just lays there flat with no movement. he looks a little bloaty underneath, he doesnt move at all. and ive always been able to see some effort out of him. Can a single ant bite him to death? did he starve to death/ is he still alive. ? I wont give up on him but I have never seen him eat or poop in these 2months. Could he live? He must have eaten something and I couldnt tell? or? I am tortured that i may have hurt him …my little buddy. any advice for warm august /summer weather southern California Woolly Bears and hibernation patterns. thanku

  111. I am in Northeast Arizona at an elevation of 6,500 feet. We have had a bumper crop of woolly bears. What it the brown yuk they leave behind? Many have appeared in the house and have left their calling card. Thank you in advance!

  112. Hi I need to know the habitat for the woolly bear be tomorrow I have a report and if you can find anything about the mateing habits that would be awesome

  113. Today I found a woolly on the way home from school and since then I’ve taken an old shoe box and have cut four rectangular holes in the left/right sides, front, top and taped plastic wrap on the holes except for the top in which I had put a mesh screen in place and I’m wondering if this is a decent enough habitat for the little guy.
    P.S. there isn’t really any vegetation around where I had found him so, are there any good substitutes I can go out and buy/find for him?

  114. I found a wooly catipiller and it was fine I made a good habitat for him but I checked on him about a hour, maybe 45 min. And he is curled up into a ball and I don’t know if he is dead or what. I need help badly cause I’m scared and I put water in there and grass and leaves and clovers and I’m sooooo nervous. I’m not keeping him long but I NEED to know!!!!

    • Wooly Bears curl up into a ball, it’s what they do sometimes. It doesn’t mean that they’re dead. If anyone out there is that worried about their caterpillar not moving around constantly, perhaps you shouldn’t have one and maybe let it go. Even caterpillars need to rest.

  115. Hello…I recently found a woolly bear crawling up my drive way 2days ago (which was tuesday) i feed him lettuce which he loves, a couple sticks to crawl on, soil, and grass. Im not too sure but is this around the time they hibernate? Im in gary, in…the weather here now is 51 degrees but by next week its suppose to be a little warmer…anyway he seems happy and healthy and he likes crawling around in my hand lol. Some advise please.

  116. My caterpillar isn`t eating any thing. Is it sick?Well I didn`t put him outside yet.

  117. Does soap water or soap in general kill woolly bears? Should i put it in a jar or box? What do i feed it.

  118. I found a woolly bear in my basement this morning. I have given it some leaves from a potted plant in my office, but it’s not eating them. Does this mean it’s preparing to pupate?

  119. I found a wooley bear caterpillar in our garage almost two week ago. It was -20 outside, so left it in garage. I’ve never seen one before so wasn’t sure what it was. It is now + 30’s outside. Should i just put it outside? I’ve put plant leaves next to it, then leaf lettuce. I can’t tell if it’s eating, it looks a little smaller than when i first saw it. Last night is first time i put leaf down there at night. It went right to eat, looked like it was licking or eating it. Raised it’s head up and this am, it has ventured out a foot away from it’s spot. First time it’s gone that far.. What do i do with it? Snowing out at present..

  120. I found a Wooly Bear curled up on my indoor porch rug a few months ago. I kept him inside the whole time, and he recently(last 2 weeks) made a cocoon. He’s been in it without a problem and I’m waiting for him to emerge. Perhaps they don’t need to be outside after all, why else would he be making a cocoon? Not to mention how much the weather has fluctuated, especially here in the N. East. The caterpillar would be frozen one day, thaw out the next, etc. It seems as though they instinctively know when they’re supposed to hibernate. Like the author noted, Wooly Bears have been around for millions of years; which is why they will go through their life cycle regardless of their surroundings.

  121. I’m a bit worried about my woolly bear. Is his cocoon incomplete? I can see through it and it has a hole. He’s been in there for a couple of days.

  122. It’s Feb in Ohio, which means the last week has been well below freezing with a forecast of 50 degree weather in the near future (and recent past). The mornings are reaching single digits.

    I just had a wooly bear fall out of the folds of some curtains that have been inside my house for the better part of two months. Previously, they were out on the enclosed porch. It’s active since I picked it up. I’m sure it’s still safe to put it back outside, but creating the ideal environment you describe for its hibernation sounds difficult since nothing is dry and everything is frozen. Any tips to help insure its survival would be appreciated.

  123. chelsea Fisher says

    I found a wholly bear caterpillar in our house. It’s March and a lot of snow outside. Sunday it’ll b high of 30. If we keep him inside will he cycle? We thought about making him a home with bought dirt and leaves from our dieting bought roses, house plant I think some sort Lilly lots green leaves and lettuce, and what we can still find outside an put him n my husband garage where it’s always a little warmer. Will he have a chance of survival? . We live in old farm house the basement has large cracks in foundation between cinder blocks my guess of how he made it in probably look in for hibernation spot.

  124. I found a wooly bear when the snow was melting, an avalanche happened on our roof and Wilson (wooly bear) survived it so I took him in and looked on the Internet on how to care for him and I did not know that you had to put them outside. My wooly bear seems to be doing fine in his box I made from a how to and he does not seem to want to go I do not know what to do…

  125. help i lost my catipiler he was in his jar when i went to bed and when i woke up there was this ugly buterfly thing in the jar???

  126. My 7-year old found a wooly bear at a pumpkin patch last October. He wanted to bring it home and raise it. He named him pumpkin. We cared for it exactly like you described on your website. He spun his cocoon on April 30, it is now May 24. Is it safe to say he will not emerge and has died? We are a little sad here as we took such good care of him for so long and really enjoyed watching him scurry about. Should we just give him more time? Does weather play a role? It has been pretty cold lately, dropping into the 50s at time.

  127. Amanda Corson says

    My son found a willy bear and it’s cocoon was black and shiny like a monarch. The one in this picture is fuzzy any idea why it is that way. I wanted to post a picture but it will not allow me to.

  128. Heather Priest says

    I am a preschool teacher and right now we have 5 brown and black woolly bears and a fuzzy black one with red stripes. We looked it up and he will become a giant leopard moth. They have pretty much stopped eating and are hiding under the crunchy leaves. We have them in a tall clear cheese ball container with sticks. I bring the container home every weekend so my own children can see them and observe them. We are going to prepare the container for winter and I will take it back to school one more week then I am going to put the container in the shed until spring. I am hoping we are doing all the right things to watch the next stage of their life.

  129. Found a wooly worm but it has been doing its cocoon for werks now.. Now it looks half on and half out I dont lnow if its alive or not… Should I still put leaves in there?

  130. Mariah Sigfris says

    I didn’t do what this forum said I got the wrong info. I put my wooly bear in a container after finding it crawling on my kitchen floor and put him in my fridge. I just took him out since stuff is starting to melt. If it’s alive how long will it take for it to start moving around ?

  131. I just found a woolly bear, I also have 2 birds. Would the birds eat or try to hurt the wooly bear?

  132. My woollybears container on the back deck accidentally got water in it (the cover blew off in a windstorm, and I didn’t realize it until it was too late), so I quickly removed them to empty the water out. After I fixed their container and went to put them back in, I was shocked to see that they had ‘uncurled’ and were slowly starting to crawl around! I live in Michigan and it’s still very cold out, so needless to say, their food sources aren’t available yet. Will they curl up and go back to sleep? If they don’t, what do I feed them? Some of them drowned, but I still have 10 left. Please help me!! 😳

  133. Found a Wollybear crawling around in my garage and decided to shelter it until it emerges as a tiger moth. Over the last 12 days I have added fresh grass, twigs, a cutting from an ivy vine and even a SL all iceberg lettuce seedling in a big mason jar. I kept watering the lettuce but it was doing very poor 7 days in due to not enough sun I think and just ended up replacing it with fresh grass, branch, and the Ivey and tonight saw it finally cocooned up and is beginning its metamorphosis. It’s been fun to ensure hits safety and livelihood and I can wait to release it as a moth.

  134. Kayla & Zelda says

    This was so helpful! My daughter and I found a wooly bear last fall, and thanks to the helpful info in this article, today he cocooned! We are so excited to see him emerge as a moth soon, and are thunking if getting a monarch kit next!

  135. It’s been spring for like two months and it’s been almost FOUR WEEKS since my woolybear has spun a cocoon. WHAT DO I DOOOO????

  136. Courtney W says

    I found a wooly bear yesterday and wanted to keep it as a pet and made it a nice little cage with some dried leaves fresh spinach leaves a couple sticks misted cafe with a little bit of water. Have gauze over the top. When I found him he was crawling all over the yard, put him in the cage and he ate a few spinach leaves made a good little bit of poop but hasn’t moved for almost 24 hours. it is 100 plus degrees outside so I thought that he was hot brought him inside he immediately starts to move crawled up the stick and has been still since for about 2 hours now. I’m just finding your website so I’m wondering should I take him back outside or can he overheat?

  137. Hi there. We have started our Summer adventure of raising caterpillars. We started with a monarch that just emerged today 🙂 Next to our milkweed we found a wooly bear on our Lantana flowers and brought him in to raise too. I keep reading that you shouldn’t keep him inside for winter months, but is it ok for Summer. (We are in Florida so our “Winter” weather won’t be until Dec or Jan). Can we keep him in during that time? He just molted for the first time tonight. Thanks. I hope you can answer. I want him to be safe.

  138. Thank you for your thoughtful and respectful piece on caring for a woolly bear moth caterpillar.
    They have very short lives and it is important for readers to consider that delaying release for even one extra second once the moth emerges is the equivalent of making a human wait years upon years to be set free to fulfill one’s purpose!
    Very nice job on the steps to care for these creatures. I wish there were more sites like yours that emphasize the detailed requirements to care for them as well as the notion of respect for their well-being.

  139. Hello! New to woolly bear keeping and have a couple questions 🙂
    We live in Northwest Indiana and it is now September 1, woolly bears are everywhere and large, crossing the streets. I thought they were more around in fall?
    We found 3 under a gutter drain when mowing the grass and they are much smaller than the ones crossing the street, why is that? (These are the ones we kept)
    Two are active and the smallest one is not unless moved for me to clean the jars. They are eating grass, dandelion, leaves, and I have a twig to climb and build cocoon on. Plenty of woolly bear poop each day!lol
    How do you know when they are hibernating and it is time to stop cleaning out the jars and supplying fresh food? I don’t want to disturb them when they do hibernate.
    My son is 3 and LOVES nature and is just in awe at our woolly bear babies so I want to do everything right by them and make sure they stay happy and healthy.

  140. Lizzie & Dad says

    I found a wooly bear at a farm this morning and he moves very rarely, I just have been wondering if he will get bigger (he is about an inch right now) or if he will do anything unusual? He doesn’t want to eat much and I am wondering if that’s a problem. Thank you for all the information on this website and for answering my questions.

  141. I like woolly bears says

    I had one and I did everything here, but i have a question. My woolly bear got sad and refused to eat anything even though I got him the right food. We gave him a good size container and everything but i ended up letting him go. He was the only caterpillar I had. My friend had 3 caterpillars and they were doing just fine and he kept them indoors. Am I doing something wrong or do I need multiple caterpillars?

  142. I live in New Jersey, Union County, I have seen a wooly caterpillar almost everyday for the last 1 1/2 months. I know its not the same one, that its multiple ones because some are smaller, some are larger, the brown & black bands range in size, etc. Where do they like to ‘live’ while they are out? Tress, bushes, etc? I seem to find them a lot on our driveway, walkways & steps. Where do they make their cocoons? Again, trees, bushes, etc?

  143. Hi I found a wooly bear Caterpillar outside today and I took him home thinking they should have already been in a cocoon by now, I read the article so I know that’s not true now lol. But its snowing out and I put him in a jar with leaves and sticks, I will feed him and occasionally mist. How long do you think it will take for him to make his cocoon? and then do I leave him outside during the winter? because that could be till February before the snow starts to melt. could I bring him in once he makes his cocoon?

  144. Hi everyone. I got a wolly bear Caterpillar about a month ago. We keep him in the shed. It’s still fall here but has dropped to freezing. He hasnt moved from its spot. I’m wondering though. On a nice fall day with the sun beating on the shed it can get pretty warm in there. Will this wake the hibernation? I’m worried ghosts hes woken up and tried to eat and now may be dead. Or will he just stay asleep? TIA

  145. So I got my woolly bear all set up like you suggested here, outside in our garage. The container is forming a lot of humanity because it’s been raining so much and most of his supplies are wet. Just wanted to make sure he’ll be ok. He has dirt at the bottom of his container, grass, leaves to hide under, sticks. He seems ok. Been chilling in a ball since yesterday. Moved him to a bigger container yesterday and put him under his leaves like I found him before I move him. But his container is starting to leak from the humidity just trying to make sure he’s comfortable

  146. We found a wooly bear caterpillar last November outside our house and I made a place for him on our screened in porch for the winter. I tried to keep fresh grass and leaves along with some treats of apples, carrots and parsley. He liked the apples the best. I tried to spray the plastic container regularly. However, we had a very cold January and I wasn’t able to get to him for the entire month. I thought with it being so cold he would be hibernating. Well much to my disappointment, I brought him in yesterday which was unseasonably warm and he was laying on top of the old piece of apple nearly half the size I remember him being. He didn’t move at all. His black bristles looked ok, but his underside did not look moist and shiny as I remember. I’m pretty sure he’s gone, but I put him back in his container outside. I’m guessing he got dehydrated- do you agree? They’re extremely entertaining and fun to care for even for adults. Maybe another one will come into my life and I’ll try again.

  147. It’s the middle of February and I found a wooly. I didn’t want my dogs to eat him and it’s still very cold outside. I found him in my boyfriends wood working room. I read how to care for them so I made him up a nice little jar-dominium and brought him inside. I keep my house at 64°. He seems fairly active at times but most of the time he just sleeps. Any advice on what to do now? He has leaves, grass, twigs and lettuce. I’ve misted the leaves and twigs. Being February, will her still spin a cocoon or is it too late in the season?

  148. i have a woolly bear in a cocoon should it be inside or outside

Speak Your Mind