Saturday, 29 March 2014

Visiting the Butterflies

Getting up close and personal with butterflies in Phuket
On our last day in Phuket before heading to the airport we checked out butterflies and other critters at the Phuket Butterfly Garden & Insect World. It's north of Phuket Town and in an off-the-beaten-path kind of location.

For an admission fee of 300BHT ($9.23) you can get up close and personal with many butterflies, while the insects are thankfully locked away in wired cages and boxes.

In the Breeding Room a butterfly decided to hang out on me!
Upon entering the complex we were greeted by staff who gave us a sugary drink and then a tiny plastic cup filled with a bit of banana soaked in sugar water in the hopes of luring butterflies to eat.

We wandered into the hot and humid open garden area where butterflies were flying among the greenery and orchids; our driver had told us now is not the season for viewing the flowers, but we saw enough here to make us happy.

It was difficult to photograph the butterflies at first, probably startled by another group of strangers wandering in their 'hood. But eventually we found a few lazy ones or perhaps more photogenic and didn't mind us coming up a bit closer to take pictures...

There were many butterflies with various colours and patterns
We had to follow the route which included visiting an area housing scorpions, reptiles and even cockroaches! I couldn't even bear to photograph them they were so frightening to look at, particularly the latter!!

The Pupae House is a cool enclosed space where you can see pupae hanging from wired box cages in various stages of development, with the smallest pupae a lime green colour, to the older ones a muted brown-gray. There was the odd butterfly trying to stretch its wings and flying around the small cage. Again we got to have a pretty good look at its underside!

Then we managed to get close to the butterflies sans cages in the breeding room, a small enclosed area with some orchids and a table like an altar with bananas on it. Again the butterflies here seemed nonplussed to have us there and we could take even closer pictures of them.

This creature decided to feast on some sweet bananas...
Here we could observe up close the intricacies of the patterns and colours on their wings, but it was a pity to see many of them have damaged wings, which is perhaps why they didn't fly around so much.

Nevertheless it was a wonderful experience to see them up close; staff were not even around to hurry us along and in fact the brochure encouraged visitors to stay as long as they wanted before closing time at 5pm and to take lots of pictures.

The brochure explains the Phuket Butterfly Garden breeds butterflies and then releases them annually in the hopes they will help to further pollinate flowers and fruit trees.

This butterfly sadly had a damaged wing
We wonder if the scheme really works considering the captive butterflies mostly feed on bananas already peeled for them! Nevertheless, we like the idea of the garden breeding the butterflies and hopefully educating more people about the importance of these creatures in our ecosystem.

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