Wetas aren’t the most attractive insects on the planet, but monarch butterflies are, and you can see both close up at Brooklands Zoo’s new backyard garden attraction. The friends of Pukekura Park were at the zoo yesterday planting swan plants, on which monarch butterflies lay their eggs and releasing a male weta as part of the display area. Bev Moratti, who released the weta into its new home, said she was not afraid of the ugly critters.
Friends of the Park donated the swan plants to the zoo especially for the backyard garden. “We have about 56 plants but will only put in a third of them. We save the the rest for when the caterpillars have eaten all the others,” John O’Sullivan said.
The garden section of the zoo provides information on how to create the right habitats for insects in your backyard. “It’s just a really good way to have interpretive information and then a live display,” zoo technical officer Eve Cozzi said.
The display has information on how to increase the number of insects and creepy crawlies in your backyard. Children will be able to see wetas, monarchs, lizards, spiders and worms in just a short time. “It won’t take long at all. There are butterfly eggs on the plants already and they will soon be caterpillars, chrysalises and then monarchs flying around,” Ms Cozzi said. “There are already lots of baby wetas in the garden but the next step is to build them a hotel. A wooden home for the nocturnal creatures.”