Did you get the pun in the title? I hope it didn’t fly over your head.
I suppose a part of me always knew of the existence of Stratford Butterfly Farm. Why it took me four years to go here, I’ll never know. But now I am imbued with a delicate desire to return. Be wary of torrential toddlers. Although they are not half as revolting as their putrid parents; they’ll certainly make themselves heard.
Before I begin lauding this magnificent destination, those of you who can read will notice five choice words in the featured image of this post.
“Do not touch the butterflies”
It does not matter if they are on the floor, they have wings. These creatures are delicate. One slip up could cause scales to fall off of their wings sentencing them to a slow, agonising death. Now a quote from Python to illustrate my point:
“[during labour] Doctor, what do I do?”
“Nothing dear, you’re not qualified!”
Let me give you an overview of the SBF experience. Firstly you walk into a tropical wonderland and ponder why on Earth they haven’t turned the air conditioning on. Then you are assailed by over 3000 butterflies. Following this, you look around you and see various Neolithic ignorami trying their hardest to “rescue” flying creatures which have hitherto managed quite all right without their help.
In all seriousness, however, this is a place of magic and wonderment. All around you are examples of some of the most beautiful creatures on the planet. Splendidly flying through the air above your head, and sometimes on your head!
Hidden deep in the foliage are an array of iguana. I managed to find one. Perhaps you can too! I’ve named this one Albert on account of his undeniable regality.
If you go around late May/ early June; your visit will coincide with the hatching of some delightful little birds. Watch carefully and you’ll see them scurrying around underfoot. I’ve included a picture with some perspective behind it so you can see just how tiny they are!
But that isn’t all. In addition to our flying friends; hidden gems and chicks with sticks; I was delighted to find a cocoon room. This was where the conservationsist aims of Stratford Butterfly Farm emerged, if you will. I was lucky enough to happen upon one almost fully out of its cocoon, in the final stages of metamorphosis. Its wings were drying, the sight was magnificent. Notice how the tips this moth’s wings resemble snakes to frighten their main predators, birds.
Pictured above are some of the metamorphosing cocoons on display. You can match each cocoon with it’s butterfly using the handy chart on both sides of this exhibit.
The miniature beasts room follows. Thousands upon thousands of ants walk (do ants walk?) across ropes suspended above your head. They carry leaves to their nests from one end of the room to the other. There, they will let them rot until fungus develops. Then the ants will feed from this fungus. The Farm likens this to us eating mushrooms, to make the process seem less revolting. Yet, the spectacle is at once repulsive and extraordinary. This is not a room for the faint of heart. The rooms directly adjacent to it showcase an array of tropical insects and a alarming arachnid.
And now, a few pictures which I must share with you, including a gorgeous Gordon Setter I spotted during a stroll through Stratford.
I hope you enjoy this gem, I certainly did and shall be returning post haste!