A RARE moth has been returned to Stratford Butterfly Farm.
The Atlas moth, one of the world’s largest with a wingspan of around 30cm, hatched from a cocoon after being taken from the Swan’s Nest Lane attraction last week.
Teenager Paige Firkins was blasted on social media after posting a picture of the insect.
The post was liked, shared and commented on more than 2,000 times.
In the post, which has since been deleted, she wrote: “So we kinda took the biggest caccoon (sic) from the butterfly farm and out came the biggest butterfly I’ve ever seen. I gave birth to a butterfly!”
The 19-year-old from Birmingham was understood to have kept the native South East Asia moth in a cage.
The Butterfly Farm urged Paige to return the moth immediately as it only has a lifespan of around a week.
And on Thursday morning (October 18) the sanctuary announced the moth had been returned and was back on display.
A spokeswoman from the farm said: “Stratford Butterfly Farm is delighted to announce the safe return of our Atlas moth.
“It is now back on display in the Discovery Zone. We would like to thank everyone who has been working behind the scenes to arrange the safe return of the moth, in particular to Warwickshire police and PC Garlic and her colleague.”
And a spokeswoman from Warwickshire Police confirmed officers had collected the moth and returned it to the sanctuary.
She said a 19-year-old woman from Birmingham had been given a ‘community resolution’ – which does not result in a court hearing or criminal record.
The Atlas moth is most commonly found in Thailand and the Philippines.
They emerge from a silken cocoon and then have up to ten days to find a mate and lay up to 300 eggs for next generation.
They do not have mouths and instead live on energy reserves obtained from food while a caterpillar.
Visit www.butterflyfarm.co.uk to find out more about the butterfly farm.