On the way to the Cambodian Landmine Museum, I passed by the Angkor Butterfly Center.
The landmine museum was kind of heavy, as you can imagine, so I asked my motorcycle taxi driver if we could stop at the butterfly center on the way back.
The butterfly center serves as an alternative for local farmers. Farming in the tropics usually means having to clear the forest to make way for the farms. This not only kills the butterfly population, but also it’s bad for the planet.
So, the butterfly center is doing its part to preserve some nearby forest and provide employment to people in the local area.
When I got there I was the only patron. The guy selling tickets gave me a wonderful tour and explained a lot. I learned more in 20 minutes with him about butterflies than I had learned in almost 30 years until that point.
Below is a video of him explaining how the caterpillars nest in their cocoon and how they hang them to assist the caterpillar -> butterfly process.
I also saw where caterpillar babies come from and how they grow so quickly. The whole process from larva to elderly butterfly is only 1.5 – 3 months depending on the species. Caterpillars only live a couple weeks before the transformation.
And when the butterfly breaks out of its cocoon, it needs to hang in place for about 30 minutes because its wings are too wet to fly. Cool stuff!
Another tidbit.. butterflies are an integral part of the pollination process. It makes sense as they fly from flower to flower, tasting via their feet, but this flower-to-flower hopping pollinates just like bees.
They also have a tarantula there, and the absolute biggest spider I’ve ever seen (and I saw quite a few big ones in Central America).
There was also an insect call the “stick insect.” As you can see below, it’s a very logical name. It was huge though! The females are twice as big as the males. If an egg goes unfertilized it still results in a female baby. Interesting! I’d say the female was a good 6in/15cm long!
Otherwise, just a very peaceful and beautiful place. I wish butterflies didn’t move around so much as it was difficult to photograph them! But a wonderful, peaceful, magical experience.
About Adam Pervez
In mid-2011 I left my cushy corporate job and took the plunge into a life incorporating my passions of traveling, writing, volunteering, learning, educating, and telling stories. I study what happiness means to others, offer what I can from my engineering/MBA background as a volunteer, and try to leave each place better than how I found it. Read more.