If you love ant farms, there are other live animal kits you might love just as much. Most of the ant farm stores we reviewed sell a variety of kits for observing the growth and behavior of other small animals and insects.

Butterfly Kits
Butterfly kits are the next most popular type of live animal kit, and like ant farms they have been around for decades. Butterfly kits typically come with caterpillars, which is the second stage (after the egg stage) in the life cycle of butterflies. Caterpillars have voracious appetites in preparation for metamorphosis (the process of transforming from one form to another). Caterpillars spend most of their time eating leaves and bulking up their body weight before building a chrysalis. The chrysalis, or cocoon, is a small sac made of silk that encloses the caterpillar s entire body as it enters the pupa stage. After several days to a few weeks, the adult butterfly emerges from the cocoon. Newly hatched butterflies have wet and wilted wings that must be straightened out and dried before the animal can fly. Butterfly kits are designed to allow you to observe the metamorphosis before releasing the adult butterflies outside. Butterflies cannot survive in all temperatures so be sure to read the instructions before you set up your kit or release your adult butterflies.

Frog Kits
Frog kits are another great idea for observing metamorphosis, offering more life cycles than ants or butterflies. When you purchase a live frog kit, you ll receive tadpoles. Tadpoles are fishlike water-breathing creatures and must be kept in an appropriate aquarium environment. The tadpoles gradually grow hind legs and their tails begin to shrink. Next, the tadpoles grow front legs and begin to resemble frogs with tails, also called froglets. Finally, the tail shrinks and the adult frog is formed. Adult frogs are amphibians, meaning they live both in water and on land, and they must be kept in an environment that offers both. Frogs can be released outside only if the environment has the water, land and food they need. As with most live animal kits, you can only release your adult frogs during certain times of year and you may be limited to spring and summer months for receiving your tadpoles.

Ladybug Kits
Live ladybug kits come with ladybug larvae already in a semi-dormant state. All you have to do is wait for the adult ladybugs to emerge and then release them into your garden. Ladybugs eat common garden pests like aphids and are a top choice for natural gardeners looking for earth-friendly and chemical-free pesticide solutions.

Worm Farms
Worm farms are designed as habitats for observing behavior rather than metamorphosis. Worm farms are usually filled with distinct layers of soil, making it easy for the observer to see how the worms tunnel through and process the soil. Worms are natural soil enrichers who eat soil and expel a nutrient-rich compost. Worm farms can be filled with worms from your own garden or you can order live worms from one of our ant farm stores like the Butterfly & Nature Gift Store.

Check out our lineup of the top ant farm stores online, many of which sell a variety of other live animal kits including those listed here and many others. A few of the sites also sell live animals and eggs for these kits, but shipping live animals may be limited to certain times of year depending on where you live and where the animals ship from.

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