Butterflies Of Belize

by McNab Editorial Team

Did you know that Belize is home to 700 species of butterflies and that there are five major butterfly farms?  You might ask why, but first, here are some important facts about the butterfly life cycle and the types of habitats in which they thrive.

Belize has a low population density and lots of open vegetation and wildflowers.  Also, it is still customary for people to keep gardens and vegetable plots. Since butterflies are pollinators, they are good for gardens, and gardens are good for them. Their life span is short and they are fragile creatures. From egg to pupae they require heat and in the caterpillar stage, they must eat like machines in order to survive.  As they emerge, they must immediately seek shelter from wind, rain, and predators such as birds, frogs, toads, bats, and other small animals.  Although their bright colors scare predators away, their wings are extremely delicate, and if broken, they do not regenerate.  Wings also serve as their heat generator.  Therefore, the clever butterfly moves around; from one place for laying eggs to another for protection, on the look-out for crevices, and hedges that afford them protection. 



Butterflies feed on nectar from flowers, sap from trees, and even human sweat. They like the sodium. Their feet do the work of a tongue and their straw- shaped proboscis or little snout reaches into the center of the flower to drink in the nectar. 

Five Major Butterfly Farms in Belize: 

  • Fallen Stones Butterfly Farm.  This farm is located in Punta Gorda town in the Toledo District.  Founded in the eighties by an Englishman named Clive Farrell, this farm is also the main supplier for his butterfly farm in Stratford Upon Avon in the U.K.  Eight species are raised, mostly the Blue Morpho and Owl Butterfly.  This display, however, is only made available to guests of Hickatee Cottages.  Call ++ 501 672 4475  or email [email protected] 
  • The largest is in the Mountain Pine Ridge in the Cayo District. Here you can see butterflies displayed, including the Blue Morpho, which is the main attraction. Green Hills Butterfly Ranch is open every day including holidays. Admission fee is $20. For adults and $10. For children. 
  • Chaa Creek is located just a short distance from the western town of San Ignacio in the Cayo District. This farm rears the rare and exotic Blue Morpho Butterfly.  Here you can see and learn everything about the Blue Morpho throughout its lifecycle.  Entrance is open to all for a mere $5.63.   
  • Tropical Wings Ecocenter.  Located in the Cayo District, this farm is only 6miles west of San Ignacio. Here a large variety of butterflies are raised from eggs to pupae.  Here you can experience the butterflies or walk around a beautifully landscaped garden. It is open to all from 9 am to 5 pm for a small fee. 
  • The Shipstern Nature Reserve in the Corozal district was established in 1987 and covers 27,000 acres of protected habitat.  It boasts a garden as well as a breeding area, as well as a65 foot Observation Tower with Spectacular views.  The fee is U.S.$5.00 and it is free to students. Telephone is ++501 622 9730 

If you are short on time, The Museum of Belize in Belize City houses a permanent display of many butterfly species, as well as an impressive display of every size and species of seldom seen Belizean Insects. Admission is $5.00. 

Written by Nelita Castillo

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