Caterpillars are the larval stage of different kinds of butterflies and moths. They resemble worms and eat foliage. Some caterpillars are garden pests while others, like the monarch butterfly, are a beloved symbol of migration.
Despite their insatiable appetites, caterpillars do need to sleep. In fact, sleep is important for all life, including caterpillars.
While there is no definitive answer as to where caterpillars sleep, it is known that they take naps throughout the day and night. They also sleep while they are eating. The napping helps them conserve energy and allows them to better process food. Additionally, caterpillars that do not get adequate amounts of rest will not grow properly and may die before they reach their adult form.
In addition to napping, caterpillars may also be found tucked away in the soil or inside a cocoon or chrysalis. While these places might appear to be quiet and peaceful, it is far from the case. Inside the cocoon or chrysalis, the caterpillar is busy transforming into a new creature. The same juices that it used to digest food are now breaking down its own body from the inside out.
In the fall, caterpillars can be seen more often as they search for a safe place to pupate. These shelters are usually tucked away in the crotches of trees. For this reason, they are sometimes found crawling on other plants and even in the driveways or patios of homes and offices. As the weather gets colder, caterpillars that have not reached their final stage will go into a state of torpor, which is a form of hibernation that helps them survive in harsh conditions.