Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm would like to thank everyone who has been working behind the scenes to arrange the safe return of the moth, in particular to Warwickshire police and P.C Garlic and her colleague.
Atlas Moths, Attacus atlas, are a type of silk moth and are one of the largest insects in the world with a wingspan of up to 30cm. They emerge from a silken cocoon and then have 7-10 days to find a mate and lay up to 300 eggs for next generation. The caterpillars feed on a range of food plants, at the butterfly farm they are fed on privet. As an adult moth it cannot feed as they have no mouth parts or stomachs and will exist on the fat laid down as a caterpillar.
Atlas moths come from the rainforests of the Far East. The Stratford Butterfly Farm source theirs from Thailand and the Philippines. They are not rare in their home countries and are bred for the butterfly farm by either conservation projects or community initiatives. These projects provide a sustainable income to our tropical farmers as they can earn a living from the extra caterpillars that a butterfly or moth produces, this in turn protects the local rainforest. This natural excess of caterpillars are protected from predators and parasites that would otherwise keep the population down. These are then used to supply butterfly exhibits around the world.
The Stratford Butterfly Farm has created a mini rainforest environment, with all the right conditions for tropical moths and butterflies to breed and thrive in. It is an immersive display where visitors walk through the rainforest surrounded by up to 3,000 free flying butterflies and moths with no barriers, giving them unimpeded access to any photographs they may take and if a butterfly chooses to, it may land on a visitor causing much delight!