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Butterfly World – Klapmuts

Our Eco-Rangers were fortunate to be given the opportunity to spend an afternoon exploring the unique and amazing Butterfly World in Klapmuts.

Entrance to Butterfly World

Entrance to Butterfly World

A big thank you to Esther for giving us this opportunity and for spending valuable time with our group. And thank you to Silvia for arranging this outing.

To begin with, our Eco-Rangers were presented with an exciting, information packed overview of the butterfly life cycle. Esther guided them through each stage using some excellent chalk drawings combined with photos. Of course she discussed all the other creatures who live in this magical world.

The Genet group learning about Butterfliesutterflies

The Genet group learning about Butterflies

Most important of all were all the guidelines one must follow in order to make this an enjoyable experience for all while respecting the creatures you discover along the way.

Our first stop was the Spider / Aquatic Room, which houses displays of indigenous and exotic spiders and scorpions on one side and fish on the other. The large hairy tarantulas attracted the most attention here. My favourite was the Mexican Red Knee Tarantula. What a beauty. And the huge cockroaches caused a stir. I personally thought they’d make a great meal for a hungry hen. Mmmmmm delicious!

One hairy spider

One hairy spider

And the fish as always were mesmerizing with their shimmering colors as they floated quietly, their gills gently opening and closing. Many a small child paused a moment to watch in wonder and silence.

The butterfly room was next and wow what an experience. This is an indoor tropical wonderland where you sometimes have to pinch yourself to wake up from a moment of awe and almost dreamlike quality. You have to be there to understand what I mean. Adults feel like children again and children walk around with wide eyes and gaping mouths in between the giggles of delight. As you make your way around the winding paths amongst huge, colourful plants with gorgeous green leaves and flowers . . . butterflies flit and float through the air around you. Stand still and a butterfly might well land on you or next to you. Keep quiet and you can enjoy a kaleidoscope of butterflies. Look deep into the thick foliage and you might uncover a caterpillar munching on some leaves.

Butterfly Nursery

Butterfly Nursery

For those who are fascinated with the life cycle of the butterfly or study Lepidoptera; you’ll find a section (almost a butterfly nursery) cordoned off where there are rows upon rows of brightly coloured pupa or chrysalis (Pupa and chrysalis are same being the transformation stage between the larva and the adult). If you’re can stay a while, you might be lucky to see a newly emerged butterfly still with damp and slightly crumpled wings.
Admiral butterfly

Admiral butterfly

Many of the tropical butterflies seen at Butterfly world are imported from countries such as Cost Rica, the Philippines, Malaysia and China. All year round, each week pupae arrive from countries that have breeding farms. The “butterfly nursery” has boards giving information on the different types of butterflies homed. You can also leant the differences between moths and butterflies and a whole lots more. There is always something to learn.

Through the next door was an interactive section where you’ll be surrounded by free roaming and flying creatures. Sit quietly on a bench and you might be visited by a shy blue duiker. You can’t miss the many parrots displaying brightly coloured feathers as they move around . . . and beware . . . look where you tread. I almost stood on a parrot while photographing another on a branch. One amusing Umbrella Cockatoo took a liking to my son . . . everywhere he went the bird followed. Eventually a handful of our Eco-Rangers surrounded the bird and chatted to her. Soon they learned that this bird could reply ‘Hello’ if they said ‘hello’ . . . speaking in Afrikaans did not work.

Chatting to an Umbrella Cockatoo

Chatting to an Umbrella Cockatoo

This was an English speaking bird. With all the attention, the bird decided to give a show by bouncing and screeching at the same time as showing off his umbrella like set of feathers. Soon we had a number of kids attempting to join in with bouncing and laughter. It took some effort to calm the scene and bring everyone back to a state of quiet and respect for others.

Another door and we entered the reptile bay. This area is filled with all kinds of lizards, skinks, snakes and (my favourite) chameleons!

Common Blue Tongue skink

Common Blue Tongue skink

You have to really look hard to find the chameleons as they merge so well with their surroundings. As for the bearded dragons . . . at first I was convinced they were clay replicas – so still and so perfect. There was also a bright green and very shiny frog that appeared as if it was porcelain . . . however, on a close look, one could see he was breathing and very much alive. Time to move to the next area . . . but not before taking a look at the cute African hedgehogs who were all napping in their round, clay pots.

The final enclosure was another large area full of Indian ring necks (more glorious colours), many brightly coloured birds including a Lourie and a few other tropical birds.

Bright splash of colour

Bright splash of colour

Below were group of Guinea Pigs along with a few tiny (fit in your hand) pups. Exceptionally cute and a huge attraction for our younger Eco-Rangers. On leaving this area, we were faced with a number of mischievous parrots who were enclosed in a separate aviary. One stuck his tongue out at the kids while another offered a clawed foot by sticking it through the wire. Many of the birds (and some of the other creatures) here have been rescued and re homed in this idyllic environment. The important message to any would be pet owner . . . please research your choice of pet. Every creature is unique and this requires specific responsibility by the owner. Ask yourself if the creature is really suitable as a pet? Will it be happy in captivity? Do you have the right environment? Can you afford them? Do you have enough knowledge? Do you have access to the correct food? What about the long term? Will you have time to dedicate to your pet? Always remember, pets are long term and they are living, thinking creatures who need certain conditions in order to be happy. Don’t destroy the life of another creature simply because ‘you want’, ‘must have’ a certain creature. Don’t just think about yourself and your wants . . . think about the creature and it’s needs. The best place for many creatures is in the wild surrounded by natural habitat and their own species.
Cute and cuddly Guinea Pig

Cute and cuddly Guinea Pig

After an hour or two of exploring the paradise within the 1000 m2 green house; it was time to explore the garden’s outside. While wending our way to the exit we passed by the enormous, green tree iguana who was sunning himself on a log. He appeared completely oblivious to all the foot traffic and really did not mind posing for a photo or two. What a fearsome looking creature and yet so very docile. This particular species originates from the rain forests of northern Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean Islands, and southern Brazil. Many are kept as pets and will often die within the year. They grow up to 2 meters and can live for up to 20 years.

Green Tree Iguana

Green Tree Iguana

Finally, we met Sho Sho the bat who was hanging not far from the exit. It was fascinating to be so close to a bat who must have found all the peering eyes most annoying . . . after all day light hours are his sleep time hours. Anyway, he posed for a photo, opened his eyes for a few moments and then continued to enjoy his sleep.

Stepping outdoors was a welcome relief after all the tropical temperatures of the green house. We were able to enjoy the gorgeous lawns while being surrounded by large enclosures with tortoises, marmosets, birds and a family of meerkats!

Playful Meerkats

Playful Meerkats

Our Eco-Rangers were able to relax and enjoy a snack and refreshments before exploring some more. One marmoset was particularly friendly and spent time on the shoulders of few of our braver Eco-Rangers. In another enclosure one could see tiny tortoises – no more than 5cm in length.

The entire afternoon was an educational experience not to be missed and you’ll find more than just butterflies. You’ll enjoy being surrounded by many well cared for, happy creatures who are in exceptional condition. We trust our Eco-rangers departed with some exceptional memories, lots of newly learned information and some exquisite photographs. There were photographic opportunities hidden behind every leaf. And as for education . . . the entire walk is adorned with clever signs sharing useful snippets of information.

One friendly marmoset

One friendly marmoset

For those Eco-Rangers who missed out . . . do yourself a favour; take a drive out to Klapmuts and visit the incredible sanctuary called Butterfly World. You won’t be disappointed!

For more information:
www.butterflyworld.co.za

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