Meet my new pet, "Poly Phemus". One day at a neighboring farm, I espied what looked like a bat hanging from a tree. It caught my eye because it would have been quite unusual for a bat to be hanging outside in the sunlight. On closer inspection, I found that it was a very large cocoon. I plucked it from the tree and took it home. It has lived all winter on my front porch in a Ball canning jar (lid punctured for air).
I thought surely it was undeveloped until one day, I took it out and it began to move!
Internet research and Rod, a neighbor who loves bugs, have led me to believe that this is the cocoon of a member of the Saturniidae family, or giant silk moths, likely Polyphemus, hence her name. We'll see if she might actually be a cousin of this moth when it emerges.
Holding the cocoon is really quite strange. You can feel the moth scratching at the inside, and if you hold it to your ear, you can hear it scrabbling. This appears to be quite distrubing to some people. So, of course, we hold it up to every vistor's ear to share!
I saw somewhere that Luna moths emerge in June, so likely, Poly will be with us a little while. We are hoping for a girl, as she will "call" to males, mate, and then lay eggs so that we can continue this project. Sadly, she will die after that. If it is a male, we will set him free to go sow his wild oats. Stay tuned!