Buckeye butterfly

How do you bury a butterfly?

By isak, June 21, 2020

As I stepped out on the back stoop last night, something fell to the ground just in front of me landing with a bit of a thud. It was so odd to step out and be almost hit by something falling out of the sky. I looked up and saw nothing.

At first glance at this thing that fell from the sky, I thought it was a small bird. A baby maybe. But as I leaned over to look more closely, I realized it was a pretty good sized butterfly. At about the same time, one of my cats thought that this mystery required a bit of her attention, too. So I immediately stepped in and picked up the butterfly.

A buckeye butterfly maybe? A tad ragged, too.

I walked towards the shed not knowing what to do with this little creature. Was it okay? Why did it fall from the sky? Did it get dropped by a bird? I set it on top of a dog house, but the breeze was too much for the butterfly. It could not maintain it’s balance. That’s when I considered it was maybe dying.

Not knowing what was going on, I placed the butterfly on a piece of cardboard inside the shed. As expected, it died overnight.

So what do I do with it now? How do you bury a butterfly? Or do you bury a butterfly? I just don’t know.


  1. Jessa Jay says:

    I guess I’m on the same boat as you guys but mine is a white butterfly. My mom wanted to preserve and frame it because it’s still in good condition but I wish to let the circle of life do it and give it a proper burial. I was really sure it was alive last night in my mom’s garden and then this morning, I found it on the top of the stairs dead. I was thinking of wrapping it on a tissue paper then burying it into an empty pot in my mom’s soil or placing it inside a small cardboard box and then burying it inside the empty potted soil plant. Whoever comes across this article and this comment, I hope you find the right way to bury them. This is my first encounter on such things.

    • isak says:

      So sorry to hear about your white butterfly. Sounds like he/she was beautiful.

      I think whatever you do will be okay because, no matter what, they return to the earth.

      I have never understood hanging the heads of animals hunters have killed on their walls. We don’t put our relatives and friends there when they pass.

  2. Shakila Bradbury says:

    Hi Isak,

    I came across your article dated June 2020 as I am now searching ‘how to bury a moth/butterfly.’ There isn’t much literature on this sadly.

    I’m interested to know what happened, what you did?

    I raised 3 moths from caterpillars, so I need to give them a burial 🙁

    I have chosen to bury them in the potted plant that I released them onto when they emerged. It’s ivy (Hedera helix) on a wire to make a circle shape – topiary!

    The moths were small white ermine (Spilosoma lubricipeda) beautiful, white with black spots and orange abdomen with black spots. They had a furry white collar 🙂


    • isak says:

      Seriously? I thought I was alone on this endeavor.

      I didn’t know what to do, so I put the butterfly on a piece of cardboard in my shed while I tried to decide. Overnight, it died. However, on a second visit the next morning, the butterfly was gone. Did it blow under something and I could not find it, or did something take it? I never found it.

      So, sadly, I have no good ending to my story to share with you.

      I sometimes have white moths with black spots but white underbellies as I recall. They are pretty large — about 1-1.5 inches from head to tail. Not sure if they are the same as yours.

      So sorry for your losses.

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