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Butterlies flutter by at Staunton

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BUTTERFLIES have been fluttering through the air at Staunton Country Park.

But catch them quickly – because they won’t be there for long.

The Leigh Park country park has opened a butterfly house for the first time in its stunning glasshouses.

The hot, humid temperatures are ideal for the beautiful creatures and more are hatching every day.

Because of their short lifespan the butterfly house will close at the beginning of March – so the experience of seeing the beautiful insects is a real one-off.

Chris Bailey, the head horticulturist, said: ‘We’ve never done anything like this before.

‘We had the idea about six months ago because, in the cold winter weather, it’s not very bright out there.

‘The butterfly house adds a bright touch and a tropical feeling to the place. ‘

The butterflies arrive as pupae and have to be carefully nurtured in a closed space at 26C with humidity of 60 per cent.

Rangers regularly check the pupae which turn into big, colourful butterfly varieties such as postman, common morpho and owls.

They are fed a diet of fermenting fruit including bananas, pineapples, oranges and mangos. The butterflies also enjoy a sugar and honey mixture to drink.

Chris added: ‘The glasshouses offer the perfect conditions for the butterflies.

‘Their favourite plant to eat is the lantana.

‘Some are very big and some are about the size of the palm of your hand.’

Kirsty Powles took her daughters Safron, five, and Yasmin, three, to the opening of the butterfly house, on Friday.

Mrs Powles, from Baffins, said: ‘The children absolutely loved it.

‘They really enjoyed going in there. The girls were a bit wary at first but by the end of it Safron was stroking them. It’s a lovely addition to the country park.’

The opening hours are 10am to 4pm daily.

 

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