haven for insects
October 29, 2011
By KIATISAK CHUA
Discover nature's wonders at
Penang Butterfly Farm.
LEGEND has it that if a butterfly lands
on a person, he or she will be blessed with good luck.
it may be rare to have a butterfly land on you, your chances would be
greatly enhanced at the Penang Butterfly Farm where an average 4,000
butterflies float freely.
With 120 butterfly species ranging from one of the most famous
Malaysian butterflies — Rajah Brooke’s Bird Wing — to the rare Indian
Leaf Butterfly, visitors can marvel at the beautiful insects as they
gracefully flap their colourful wings around the huge enclosed farm.
The farm is very much a place where these amazing butterflies call home
as they live, breed and die in it.
Visitors can actually witness the life cycle of a butterfly, from the
eggs up to the moment they lie on a leaf as they wait for their demise.
Pointing towards a Rajah Brooke’s Bird Wing lying motionless on a leaf,
the farm’s nature specialist Edemin P. Ramirez emphasised that visitors
could learn more about a butterfly when they observe their life cycle.
Ramirez, who also acts as a tour guide in the farm for visitors, said a
fully-grown butterfly could live up to three weeks.
Apart from butterflies, the farm also boasts other attractions like the
majestic Alligator Snapping Turtle. Weighing close to 200kg, it is aged
between 80 and 120 years and lives on a diet of fish.
Ramirez said the fishes in the aquarium placed in the tank with the
snapping turtle were getting smarter as they did not fall for the
turtle’s trap that often anymore.
“So we usually feed it with dead fish and thankfully it happily snaps
them up,” he said.
The sight of another attraction in the farm — the Giant Millipede —
would make the hair on many visitors’ back stand. The creepy crawly has
been receiving the shtick it does not deserve, said Ramirez.
“People are usually scared of the giant millipede because of its ugly
features and horrendous smell but they actually help fertilise the
soil,” he said.
To bring the visitors closer to the butterflies, the farm recently
launched a new activity for its visitors — releasing newly-bred
butterflies into the farm.
said according to a myth, if one whispered their wish to a butterfly
and then released them, the butterfly would relay the message to God so
that the wish may come true.
“The response to this activity has been very good, especially among the
younger ones,” he said.
After touring the outdoor section of the farm, visitors can continue
their tour indoor where they have the chance to view exotic insects
like spiders and tarantula.
Another interesting insect species at the indoor section is the Human
Faced Bug, which depicts a human face when you look at it upside down.
The face on some bugs have even looked like legendary rock and roll
star Elvis Presley.
American tourist Christian Guerero said he had never encountered such
an insect before: “This is the first time I have seen such an amazing
insect that has a back which looks almost like a human face.”
Guerero added that one of the memorable moments he experienced in the
farm was witnessing a butterfly lay her eggs on a leaf.
In addition, visitors can also view the collections of different
butterfly and moth species collected by Penang Butterfly Farm founder
The Penang Butterfly Farm in Teluk Bahang is open daily from 9am to