“Do’s & Don’ts” When Crate Training Your Pup

So, you’ve got a new puppy and along with it came all the new responsibilities of training and caring for it. Beginning from day one you and your dog are both learning about feeding, playing, and bathroom habits. However, one crucial skill you should also consider mastering with your pet is crate training.

Reasons to have your pet crate trained:

Having your dog crate trained can benefit not only the dog owners but also the dogs themselves. Many owners have busy schedules that require them to either transport their dog to and from places or leave them alone for a few hours. Having your dog in a crate during car rides or at home while you’re away can ensure that they are safe and not getting into anything they shouldn’t be. Some dogs find crates useful for reducing anxiety. It gives them a small place where they can rest and feel safe. Whatever the case may be, crate training can be a helpful skill to teach your pet.

A common myth about crate training is that it is cruel for your animal. However, this is far from the truth. Your dogs’ ancestors sought out small dens to rest in and feel safe thousands of years ago, in the wild. A crate can help facilitate that instinctual need to have a cozy area for your pet to feel protected in. For puppies and smaller dogs, this need for a small space to rest in can be even more necessary because of the overwhelming size of a home.

This pup found a comfortable spot to nap in his crate.

Although they are cute, having a puppy tends to come with the risk of them destroying your house when nobody is watching. Crating them while you’re busy gives you the confidence of knowing that your home and pet will remain just as you left them.

If you have decided that crate training your dog is the right thing for you, there are some guidelines you should follow to be successful.

Do: Find a crate that accommodates your dog according to their size

This rule can be a little tricky when you have a puppy because you want to get them a crate that they will be comfortable in as they grow. Certain dogs like bull mastiff puppies start small and weigh around 30 pounds as puppies however, they grow to weigh up to almost 200 pounds depending on their gender. Although most dogs don’t grow that large, it’s important to account for the size that your dogs breed may grow to.

If you know your dog is going to get bigger but do not want to buy too large or too small of a crate utilize crate dividers that can be found at most places where crates are sold. The dividers allow you to give your pet enough space to feel comfortable in a big crate but not enough space to roam too much or have an accident. Once they grow you can move the dividers accordingly or get rid of them all together and utilize the entire space that a bigger crate has to offer.

This beautiful German Shepard has a crate that fits him perfectly.

Don’t: Use the crate as a punishment

When crate training your dog you want to make sure they feel as comfortable as possible while being inside the crate. Associate the crate with fun by giving them a treat or a toy when they are inside of it. Place a bed or a warm blanket on the floor of the crate so your pup can lay down and rest while they spend their time inside their “room.”

Some dogs may get anxious and need rest from the chaos of family get togethers or even thunder storms. This is when you can place your dog into the crate to make them feel safe. Laying a thin blanket on top of the crate can assist with help making the crate feel more soothing and allow the pup to sleep easier. Just make sure there is still a passage for air to come in and out so you don’t suffocate your poor pup.

This little guy has plenty of toys in his crate to keep him company.

Do: Feed them meals and have water available in the crate

Training your dog to eat in the crate can help substantially when it comes to getting them comfortable with the space. Allow some time for your pet to sniff around the crate and get familiar with their surroundings before putting the food bowl into the crate. Encouraging them to step in and eat while closing the door behind them quietly will take some stress away from the situation. Once they have finished eating let them out and let them know that you are happy with them. The more you practice feeding your dog in the crate the safer they will feel when the times comes to go in.

Don’t: Leave your dog in a crate for more than 3 or 4 hours

The crate isn’t meant to imprison your pet. It should be used only when needed otherwise your dog will grow to dislike the crate and may refuse to get in. Puppies especially should not be forced to stay in a crate for long periods of time because of their smaller bladders. Older dogs can physically hold it for up to around 7 hours but should not be forced to unless necessary. Keeping your puppy in a confined space for too long could result in them soiling their bed causing discomfort and a mess for you to clean up. Avoid this by simply taking your pup out of the crate frequently for bathroom breaks. If you are unable to supervise your puppy while they are in the crate you may need to change your schedule around or ask for help.

Every dog is different. Its important to find a crate that is the most suited for your dogs breed and size.

Do: Be patient

Every dog is different. It could take more or less time to successfully crate train your dog depending on their personality and anxiety level. Your dog needs a lot of encouragement and support while learning to go in and out of the crate comfortably. You may have to repeat yourself often and continue to provide treats or toys until your dog can be confident that the crate is a good place. Once they have gotten in and out of the crate a few times try closing the door and opening it to get them used to the feeling of being confined in the space. Always reassuring them with a happy tone of voice can make the transition easier and faster to get the hang of.

Don’t: Be too demanding

Your dog wants to be your best friend (usually). However, they aren’t always sure of what you want them to do. Going in and out of the crate can be confusing or cause a lot of stress for dogs that are first trying it. Be aware of this and make sure that you aren’t too demanding of your dog right off the bat. Stay enthusiastic when attempting to persuade your dog to get into the crate and don’t have such high expectations on the first day. Crate training could take weeks depending on the dog, so make sure to not be too hard on your pup if they can’t get it the first couple of tries.

Being in a crate should not be associated with punishment or stress. It should be used to give your pup a break and allow them some time to relax.

Do your research:

Don’t be afraid to search for little tips and tricks on how to work with your dog during the crate training process. Research crates and find one that’s best for you and your pet considering size, visibility, and comfort. Doing my own research I found many helpful articles from sites like the American Kennel Club, The Humane Society of the United States, and Caesars Way. Below I’ve posted some links that will help you navigate through your journey of crate training your dog.

Crate training 101

Puppy crate training made easy

How to crate train a puppy

Lazarus Gomez, Managing Editor, is an aspiring writer from Phoenix, Arizona and has been freelance writing for local newspapers.  He is currently majoring in journalism at New Mexico State University. He has always been an avid animal lover and has two large bulldogs named Levi and Diesel as well as a German Shepard named Zeus. He currently resides in Las Cruces, New Mexico and is hoping to pursue his passion in sports writing.  You can e-mail Laz at lgomez@yourpetspace.info

Book Review: Gatsby’s Grand Adventures (Book 1)

Last year I reviewed a book for this site called The Not So Secret Life of Nimh, a book about a dumbo rat and rat care. Long ago, in a universe somewhat parallel to this one, the author sent me another book to review about a cat who enjoys art and experiences it in a unique way. This was a digital copy, which I saved to my computer and backed up onto a memory stick. Shortly afterward my computer died, as did its replacement. It has taken me until now to get things together, but I can finally review this cute little story of Gatsby the cat for you.

Cover for Gatsby’s Grand Adventures, Book 1. Story by Barbara Cairns, Illustrated by Eugene Ruble. Cover art by Eugene Ruble

There is magic in these pages, much like the magic of Blues Clues, the television show from Nick Junior, where Blue the dog and a human friend (either Steve or Joe) “skidoo” into a picture on the wall. In that new place they have traveled to, they are able to interact with the image, usually by talking to characters within the picture. Gatsby the cat has a similar power: his tail twitches, his nose itches and his haunches hitch before he leaps into a painting that is part of the art gallery he lives in. Each book is about a different painting. This first installment focuses on Winslow Homer’s “Snap the Whip.”

Art and Animal Behavior

Gatsby loves art and loves to jump in paintings. The story itself is cute, though there isn’t much purpose in it other than to teach the reader a little about the painting itself. Reading about Gatsby’s adventure, you can discover a few things about this particular work of art:

  • The name of the painting- The title of the painting is clearly written three times within the story of Gatsby the cat. As a teacher, this is always an important thing for me to see. Repetition is how most of the youngest readers pick up those sometimes hard to remember details.
  • Who painted the painting- The artist is mentioned three times in this story, all in the appropriate context as the creator of the work of art. Children reading this book also become accustomed to the way adults talk about art being “by” an artist or that the painting belongs “to” an artist, such as when Miss Annabelle says “My Winslow Homer painting is magically restored.” on the final page of the book.

“My Winslow Homer painting is magically restored.” Final image in Gatsby’s Grand Adventures, Book 1. Illustration by Eugene Ruble, used with author’s permission.

  • Items within the painting- During one of Gatsby’s journeys into “Snap the Whip” he sees a mouse hiding behind a rock, then chases it through a school house. On another visit, he is chased by a dog into the woods. These things (the rock, schoolhouse and woods) can all be seen in the painting and can encourage conversation about the work of art with a young child. Readers can find the items in the painting and discuss them as a part of the setting.
  • The action of the painting- In a way, I like the way this is described, but I also wish it were more about the painting and less about the imaginary adventure. To me, it felt as if the examination of movement was passed over for the story itself. As a teacher, I generally talk about what is happening in images both in books and in art. “What happened to that boy there?” “What is this child doing over here?” “Do they look like they are running or walking? “Why do you think they are holding hands?” I feel like the cat could have explored these things more before going on his multiple adventures into what COULD be happening in the painting, which I will discuss below. Don’t get me wrong, this was good, but I felt the two needed a little more balance.
  • What COULD be in the painting- Using the imagination is an important part of any child’s development. Pretending is more than fun, it helps with reasoning skills, sequencing, and many other developmental milestones. This book about Homer’s painting certainly fulfills the need to use the imagination. Gatsby has one encounter after another with this painting and each time something new happens. He interacts with the boys, he chases a mouse, he is chased by a dog, but these things all happen away from the image itself, none of them are items or actions within the painting that you can actually see. You have to imagine what it would be like on the inside of the school house, you have to pretend that a dog could be chasing a cat through the woods, and so on. This brings a work of art to life in a child’s imagination, but I felt as if we went too far in this direction while I was reading. I found myself wondering about the painting more often than I was caught up in the action of what happened beyond it. As I said before, just a pinch more balance and I would have been thrilled with how the story came together.

“A huge dog bounded down the hill. The mouse darted into a hole.” Some of the imaginary action in the painting as described above. Illustration by Eugene Ruble, used with the author’s permission.

Cat Behavior

Now, I know this isn’t a site specifically dedicated to art and literature, so I want to spend a little time on the animals themselves. There isn’t too much to discuss in this department though, the dog chases the cat, and the cat chases the mouse. Both of these things are what you would expect in a short adventure picture book for young children. They provide speed to the storytelling and a purpose for the necessity of the cat’s return to the paintings each night, but there is little else here that is specific to these animals. I wasn’t really expecting anything else in an adventure story book, but I was surprised to discover that there was some animal behavior contained in the pages as I read through.

You do see some very small examples of cat behavior and body language, which I thought was a nice touch, but there were other things that could have been discussed that I felt were pushed aside. At one point one of the boys bothers Gatsby and pulls his tail. This was an excellent educational opportunity to show children the emotions of an animal that feels threatened or hurt by a human’s actions. Though the words read, “Gatsby pulled away. His whiskers flattened against his cheeks. His ears drew back.” nothing else is really said about the incident. The cat is afraid of being squashed, so he jumps away from them and out of the painting. I would love to have a more thought provoking reaction from the cat, who is a thinking entity within the story. If he has the opportunity to think that he will correct his mistakes, then he should have had the opportunity to reflect some on the pain or fear he felt when being bothered by the boys and associate those feelings with his physical reactions. Moments like that would maximize animal behavior and feelings relating to each other. This isn’t an animal behavior book, though, so having a mention at all gets a lot of extra points in my book.

“The biggest boy chased Gatsby and grabbed his tail.” Illustration by Eugene Ruble, used with the author’s permission.

Overall this is a cute story, with a quick running plot and some interesting ideas. It has colorful illustrations that can be busy, but not in a distracting or unpleasant way, and the story teaches some things about art and animal behavior. I think young readers will find his book educational and entertaining, but I think that to get the most out of it, a child should have an adult discuss the story with them as they read and after they have finished. There are many links provided on the back pages for further study of the painting which can help with your discussions and include “Snap the Whip” in some other aspects of your child’s life as both a piece of art and a part of history.

Story by Barbara Cairns

Illustrated by Eugene Ruble

Genre & Topics: Fiction, Art, Cats

Published in 2012 by Guardian Angel Publishing

16 pages, illustrated with drawn artwork

This book was a gift from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Mirrani Houpe, YPS Staff Member

Mirrani Houpe, our Small Animal Editor, has had rats since she took home her first little boy once they both completed the second grade. Since that time she has owned, rescued and bred many kinds of rats, from many backgrounds. She may not be a vet, psychology major, or scientist, but her babies have her very well trained when it comes to how to care for them. She is constantly working with her family’s veterinarian to come up with new and innovative ways to love and care for the most often misunderstood rodent in the pet world. You can e-mail her at mirrani@yourpetspace.info

Raising Butterflies


Male Tiger Swallowtail.

Every year at this time, my class (along with undoubtedly thousands of other classrooms in the US) purchases a cup of caterpillars to raise and release. We do this to show the children the process of metamorphosis, but did you know that you don’t have to rely on a teacher to raise your own butterflies?

There are two ways that you can participate in this wondrous part of the natural world. First, you could buy a kit like I did or you could find your own caterpillars and raise them. Taking care of caterpillars and butterflies isn’t really that hard and releasing them into your garden is a rewarding feeling. This is especially true when you see a butterfly of the same species later and wonder, “Is that one of mine?”

I want to say here that I don’t typically agree with taking a wild animal and bringing it into the home unless it is absolutely necessary. In my opinion, forcing wild animals to become tame in any way should be discouraged since they need their natural instincts to survive and our interactions with them remove some of that instinct. It is a slightly different story with insects, however, because they are easily kept without much handling and you are increasing their numbers when you release them into the wild. If you have found a caterpillar or eggs on a plant from the garden, it is better to raise them and release them than spray the plants with pesticides that will kill them before they have a chance to mature. By taking them away from your garden and feeding them from the species specific plants that you purchased, you are saving the butterflies and saving your garden. In my case, I would rather save the caterpillar than have it be squashed by an eager child’s fingers in their excitement to pick it up and show it to me. Why not save that one caterpillar and help it on its way once it grows up?


What is possibly a Lined Ruby Tiger Moth caterpillar, found on a mountain trail.

Butterfly Supplies

Before you rush out to raise butterflies, you need to give some serious thought to how you are going to contain them. The old insect in a jar image comes to mind, but this is highly inappropriate, uncomfortable, and unhealthy for any creature you catch, especially butterflies. A caterpillar may not need too much room, but when it matures, it will have a wingspan that requires more space than your jar can provide.

Most classrooms and science museums get their butterfly supplies from Insect Lore. This is a wonderful site that offers all types of educational tools as well as live insects to raise and release. They have kits available for Painted Lady butterflies, ladybugs, ants, and praying mantes. (Yes, that’s the plural for praying mantis, and if you have never watched them hatch out of their case, it is really something to see!) I have both their “butterfly garden” and “butterfly pavilion” pop up nets and I must say that I prefer the pavilion when it comes to the health of the butterflies and also for the purposes of viewing. The “garden” is a small size, about a foot tall and doesn’t give your butterflies much room to fly around, especially if you intend to reuse this with other, larger types of butterflies found around your home. The “pavilion” is about two feet tall and allows room for you to decorate their habitat in a more natural way while leaving them plenty of space to fly. I also find that most people enjoy butterflies more when they are in a larger habitat. Both of these have a handle that allows for hanging from the ceiling or other location, but if you put a potted plant inside, please do NOT hang your habitat! The habitat is not stable or sturdy enough to hang with any weighted object inside and this could also harm your butterflies if the plant falls over.


Butterfly habitats from Insect Lore, The “butterfly garden” is on the left and the “butterfly pavilion” is on the right.

You don’t have to buy from Insect Lore, however. The Educational Science online nature store has a wide variety of habitats to choose from, including an abundance of live kits, outdoor tents, specialty equipment, and host plants. This was a site I discovered while searching for caterpillar rearing supplies and though I have not yet placed an order, I fully intend to. Their variety has simply made my heart sing, especially since they offer a range of larger tents and enclosures for raising happier, healthier butterflies. For someone who intends to raise local caterpillars, this is an important factor, because a butterfly requires at LEAST twice the space of their wingspan when they emerge from their cocoon. That measurement is three dimensional, in every direction. If you find a Luna moth, you are looking at a nearly five inch wing span, so you will need ten inches all around. Once your moth or butterfly starts to fly, they are certainly happier with more room to do it in. You might want to consider something even larger than that if you are going to keep them for any length of time before you release them. Whatever habitat you choose, once it is in your possession you can begin your quest for caterpillars.


This female Swallowtail Butterfly was hit by a car in the parking lot of Eno River State Park in North Carolina and did not survive.

Caterpillars By Mail

One of the two ways to raise butterflies is to get a kit by mail. Both Insect Lore and the Educational Science store offer live kits, where caterpillars are shipped to you. Insect Lore guarantees that three out of five butterflies will grow to maturity, while Educational Science guarantees only that the caterpillars shipped to you will be alive when they get there. In nature not every butterfly survives to maturity and there is not really any way to avoid this in captivity either. It is just how the world works. I will say that in all of my years of raising butterflies, I have only had to report one unsuccessful maturing of butterflies to Insect Lore and have never lost a “wild” caterpillar that my children found. Butterfly rearing may be simple enough, but it is precise, and if you do it by the book, you should have very good results.

Be aware, you may also have a mature butterfly emerge with an unusual deformity. My class once raised a Painted Lady whose wings came in backward on the right side. The top wing was where the bottom wing should have been, and vice versa. We named this butterfly Wilbur and kept it for its entire life span because it could not fly and releasing it into the wild would have been sending it to a cruel life where it could not get to any food or protect itself. Keeping Wilbur was an amazing opportunity for the children to interact with a butterfly up close without worry of it getting away. “He” wandered our classroom, walking around from surface to surface, “shared” our lunches and was basically the puppy of butterflies; so, not all mishaps with shipped larvae are tragic experiences.

When you place an order for caterpillars from any store, check the delivery date CAREFULLY. Someone MUST be in the delivery location to receive the caterpillars in order to place them indoors, in climate controlled conditions. Caterpillars are typically shipped in plastic cups or containers, which are put in a shipping box and mailed to you. Imagine being put in a hamster ball, then dropped into a cardboard box, and finally left in a metal or plastic mailbox while the hot sun beats down on you. This is what your caterpillars will endure if they are left alone on shipping. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to arrange delivery at a time when you can care for them right away.


Example of cups sent from Insect Lore, each containing five larvae.

Please note: My current experience of raising butterflies by mail is only with Insect Lore, so from this point onward my description of shipped larvae rearing is based solely on that knowledge.

Once you have your caterpillars, set the cup in a safe location, away from air vents and direct sunlight. Your caterpillars should come with care instructions that I highly recommend you follow if you are a novice. There are those who order cups and remove the caterpillars into a habitat that provides fresh food rather than the processed food that comes in the cup with them. I however, do not recommend this unless you have expert experience in handling butterflies. There are parasites and other issues to worry about when raising caterpillars and the cup that they are in is a secure environment that protects them from that without any hassle to you, their caregiver. Once they have all made their cocoons, you may open the lid and transfer them to your butterfly habitat in the way described in your kit’s instructions.

When I place my cocoons from the cup into the habitat, I generally do not include the butterfly’s host plant, but leave the structure open and free of anything that could harm the butterflies while they are emerging. It is only once all of the butterflies have emerged and their wings are dry and ready to use that I introduce the host plant and a food source to their environment. If you have one butterfly that emerges well before the others and you are worried that they will be waiting a long time for food, you can introduce it, but keep a careful eye that the emerging butterflies do not become stuck or trapped in the food source while their wings are drying.

NEVER touch a butterfly when it is emerging from the cocoon or for three hours afterward. Remove the empty cocoons only when the last butterfly has had two or three hours to dry its wings. Once all of your butterflies have emerged, you can release them, or introduce a host plant in hopes that they will breed. More on that later.


Painted Lady butterfly sitting on one of their host plants, a Hollyhock.

Caterpillars From Home

The most important thing about raising a caterpillar that you found somewhere around your home is identifying what type of caterpillar you have and providing it with the proper food. If you find an egg on a leaf, it is a fairly safe bet that the mother butterfly laid it there because this is the host plant and you already have the proper diet displayed for you. Now, simply grab more leaves from whatever plant you found the egg on and place them in your habitat. (Or get one of the special bags or nets to put over the plant that will contain the caterpillars, but allow the plant to grow.) If you find a live caterpillar, always identify it and research what types of food it needs. That caterpillar could be traveling from one plant to another and the leaf or branch it is on does not necessarily represent the type of food it eats.

When it comes to identifying anything for our classroom, I use the website Discover Life. I prefer this site, because it uses images and selective sorting to help narrow down your search. Just click the “ID Nature Guides” link at the top, find the creature or plant that you are searching for, and you are on your way to identification. For caterpillars, you can select main body color, main body pattern, hair density, and distinct features. Sometimes your caterpillar is hard to find, but don’t give up the search. If you reach a point where you simply can’t identify what you have, ask a specialist or go out to where you found the caterpillar and grab one of every leaf and blade of grass that you can find, then place them all in the habitat as an offering. Take note of what the caterpillar eats and provide more of that food, removing the rest.


A Luna moth caterpillar, identified using the Discover Life website and the Butterflies and Moths of North America site: Butterflies and moths

You need to research your caterpillar carefully. Not only do you have to give it the right kind of food, but you also need to understand how it will create its chrysalis. We are all familiar with butterflies who hang upside down and scrunch their bodies into tight, hard cases. However, some caterpillars will instead glue a leaf around themselves which acts as a cocoon. If you assume which type of caterpillar you have incorrectly,  you may check on it one day to discover that it has made the best of a bad situation and wrapped itself in whatever it can find, which usually means it will not survive. If you choose to take a caterpillar from the wild, always research it thoroughly, not only in the larvae stage, but in the butterfly stage as well. You need to be certain that you are providing it with the proper materials for metamorphosis, but also the right diet and living space throughout its entire life span. If you want to make it more comfortable in its habitat, you can also research the butterfly’s host plant and provide that as a comfort object, which will reduce the stress your butterfly feels being completely exposed in an empty net. The host plant will also help you, if you decide to try and breed your butterflies.

What to Feed Them


A Painted Lady, spreading its wings to enjoy the warm sun and preparing to eat.

It is fairly easy to feed your butterflies, no matter where they come from or what type they are. You may start by:

  • Making a sugar water mixture that is one part sugar to four parts boiling water (or follow the instructions in your kit) and place a bright sponge into a dish of this mixture. Change daily.
  • Providing cut oranges, grapefruit, peaches or strawberries. If your butterflies do not eat one type of this, try another type. Remember to cut fresh fruits daily.
  • Using butterfly feeders available online for purchase that will most likely come with a recipe of their own.
  • Remember: Butterflies eat more when they feel content and warm. To encourage your butterflies to eat and to give them a happier existence overall, take your habitat outside for a few hours, so they can enjoy the sun and fresh air

Time For Babies

Once you know the host plant of your butterfly, you can add that to the habitat when they have emerged and their wings are dry, but the biggest part of breeding is obviously having at least one male and one female. Some butterflies (like the Easter Tiger Swallowtail) are easy to identify, but others (such as the Painted Lady) aren’t as simple. The only way to know what you have is to research them. Find pictures, compare, ask an expert, or just keep your butterflies together for a day or two and see how they react to each other. If you find two butterflies back to back, seeming to be glued together at the tail end, you have a male and a female.

 The white-green dots on this Hollyhock leaf are the tiny eggs laid by a Painted Lady butterfly.

The white-green dots on this Hollyhock leaf are the tiny eggs laid by a Painted Lady butterfly.

Most butterflies don’t take too long to mate and lay eggs, so within a day or two they should pair off and within another day or two they should start looking for a place to lay their eggs. Again, I have only witnessed this process with Painted Lady butterflies, so I am now describing their behavior.

When a female is ready to lay her eggs, she wanders around a leaf, seeming to frantically rub it with her front legs. This is how she “tastes” the leaf to be certain it is the right kind for her children to eat. Once you start to see this shift in behavior, pay close attention to where she is in your habitat and take note of where she is putting the eggs, so that you can keep an eye on them.

Keep in mind, breeding butterflies is NOT easy. First of all, butterflies do not inbreed well, so the chances of the eggs maturing and providing you with happy, healthy caterpillars are smaller if you have gotten your original batch from the same source. This could be an online catalog or from the same location in your neighborhood. Secondly, there are parasites that can harm your caterpillars, which is why customers are asked not to open containers of caterpillars to re-home them on their arrival. Finally, it can just be too darn hard to contain them. I have only managed to breed our Painted Ladies three times in the many years that I have been ordering them. Once, we had so many eggs that hatched we were looking at housing an uncountable number of caterpillars… until they all escaped their enclosure. I have never successfully raised one to full size, however that doesn’t stop me from letting them lay an egg or two for the children to see before I let the butterflies go to find more suitable arrangements for their future offspring. There are habitats that you can purchase that are more suitable for raising freshly hatched caterpillars and I would highly recommend talking to an expert if you decide you would like to give your little ones the best chance for survival in captivity.


Painted Lady caterpillars one day after hatching. These are barely the size of a dot made by a ballpoint pen.

Raising butterflies is a rewarding and wonderful experience for young and old alike. With the age of the internet, it is easier than ever to provide a suitable habitat to ensure that the species you find will be as happy and healthy as possible while you watch them grow, mature, and change. If you handle your butterflies as little as possible and always use host plants that have not been treated with pesticides, you are giving your new friends a great start. Watching the metamorphosis of these beautiful creatures is both exciting and rewarding and I wish you success in your new adventures together.

Mirrani 300Mirrani Houpe, our Small Animal Editor, has had rats since she took home her first little boy once they both completed the second grade. Since that time she has owned, rescued and bred many kinds of rats, from many backgrounds. She may not be a vet, psychology major, or scientist, but her babies have her very well trained when it comes to how to care for them. She is constantly working with her family’s veterinarian to come up with new and innovative ways to love and care for the most often misunderstood rodent in the pet world. You can e-mail her at mirrani@yourpetspace.info