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Elephant Hawk Moth - Help!

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Old Wednesday 15th March 2017, 14:02   #1
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Elephant Hawk Moth - Help!


I found an Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillar in my garden last September. None of the neighbouring gardens nor mine have any of the flowers they eat so assumed a bird had dropped it while flying over.

I bought it a fuchsia and it fed until it became a pupa.
I kept it in a cool area in my house and hoped it would survive.

It did survive, but it hatched on Monday night! Which, from what I read online is about 2mths too early!
My fuchsia plant has only just begun to grow new shoots so I had to go to a local garden centre to find one that had some signs of life on it.

The moth had been hanging off the netting I have covering the box it was in since it hatched, I read this was to dry their wings.
It has flown around the box once so luckily its wings aren't damaged like I read they sometimes can be when reared indoors (it's quite a big box as I wasn't sure how much space it would need!), I put the fuchsia plant inside the box in case it wanted to eat and it is now sitting on a branch.

I don't know what to do next, if I release it outside will it die because it's too early?
Can I keep it until May or will it likely die this way too? The fuchsia plant it is sitting on at the moment has a lot of small leafy shoots and I have put some sugar water in a plastic bottle lid as I read they can eat this too.

It doesn't seem to be eating though? Is there anything I need to do? Or do I just leave it? Is it still just drying its wings?

When it comes to releasing it do I release where I found it? There isn't any food in any of the nearby gardens so should I take it to the allotment or woodlands that are very close by?

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Old Thursday 16th March 2017, 06:57   #2
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The Fuchsia is only needed for the caterpillars (and egg laying). You might be able to keep it going with sugar water, but, in my view, provided weather forecasts aren't horrendous, releasing would give it some chance of survival til mating time.
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Old Thursday 16th March 2017, 12:18   #3
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May is the earliest that Elephant hawk moths start to emerge. Their peak abundence is more like July. Even if you do manage to keep it that long on sugar water it's wings will be bashed to pieces (it will try to fly each night). Your best bet is to release it and hope that it will survive.
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