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While water is needed by all animals, butterflies do not need very much at all. Most of their water comes from nectar, dew, and tree sap, but puddles and moist dirt are also popular moisture sources, and as an added bonus they also provide nutrients and trace minerals. You can easily create a puddling station by spreading sand on the ground and watering it, or by digging a shallow depression in the dirt and creating a mud hole. These puddling stations should be located in an area that is easily viewed and protected from the wind. If you do not have a yard for a mud hole or you want to be a little more creative, you can make portable puddling stations for the butterflies, as shown in this activity.
- Planter Pot or Shallow Bowl
- (3) Sponges
- Find a shallow tray, such as a pie tin or ceramic saucer that is normally under a pot, or dog bowl — anything that will hold water, really.
- Put a layer of native soil from your yard or compost at the bottom of the container.
Add a few rocks for landing on, along with some moss, then fill the rest of the container with sand. The sand will not turn into a hard cake even if it dries out.
With your scissors, cut flowers (or any shape of your choice) out of the three sponges and place them on the rocks. Add water until the soil is completely saturated.
Place it in the open where the butterflies can see it, perhaps even next to flowers where it is protected from the wind. Keep the tray moist by adding water every few days.
If you want to make it a little fancier, go ahead and paint the outside of the container or cut a kitchen sponge into the shape of flowers and place them in the tray. They will provide a landing pad as well as hold water making it easy for the butterflies to access.