Sam Darlaston found himself raising seven “caterpillar children" after discovering the tiny stowaways in several heads of broccoli.
Darlaston went to cook his “favorite vegetable" for dinner one evening when he discovered a small caterpillar hidden inside.
The Kiss FM presenter decided to keep it as a pet before asking his friend to buy him some fresh broccoli.
However, when his friend returned, they discovered five more insects hidden in the latest vegetable.
A third attempt at buying broccoli revealed a seventh bug, which was transferred into a box in the living room, alongside the others.
In case anyone is interested, the name we’ve gone with is Cedric, he’s from Spain (at least we assume so because th… https://t.co/xcx95yrs84— Sam Darlaston (@Sam Darlaston)1591887395.0
The caterpillars are named Broc, Ollie, Cedric, Carlos, Croc, Janine, and Slim Eric. And, some have now evolved into butterflies, with four still cocooned.
“I didn't think they would survive if I put them outside straight away," Darlaston said.
Day 3, and we’ve got our first caterpillar romance story. Janine and Slim Eric nap together, eat together, and occa… https://t.co/avopnp7SPI— Sam Darlaston (@Sam Darlaston)1592055390.0
“I read that caterpillars only eat their host plant and I didn't have any broccoli in the garden. So I thought, the best bet is to keep them with some broccoli and they can leave when they're older," he continued.
After researching that it would be safe to release the Spanish white cabbage butterflies in the UK, Darlaston created a small ecosystem in his living room.
However, several of the bugs escaped into the house, with one cocooning around a scented vanilla stick and another underneath a candle holder.
WE’VE GOT AN ESCAPOLOGIST - this rebel has grabbed some vanilla sticks!! tesco you can pay for me to get a new set… https://t.co/UX8FJgafka— Sam Darlaston (@Sam Darlaston)1592060267.0
“The first one, within three days he was a cocoon, but the last one took around eight days. But I almost fast-tracked them because I gave them unlimited food," Darlaston said.
“Three of them got out and were in the lounge. You're not meant to move them once they're cocooned, so one is just in the lounge."
“My housemates have just embraced it and now come and check how they are."
@samd_official Hi Sam, thanks for letting us know. Really sorry to hear this. Can you please DM me with your email… https://t.co/9H0r8hAHg3— Tesco (@Tesco)1591887648.0
“They were alright with it, they were just like, 'that's how lockdown is going then, we now keep caterpillars'."
After tagging Tesco in the thread, they refunded him $1 for two of the heads of broccoli and said they would log the incident.
“It's natural, isn't it? It means they're not using too many pesticides which is a good thing," Darlaston said.
“It seems like a hungry caterpillar made its way into Sam's broccoli. We're really sorry about this and apologize to Sam for providing an accidental pet with his greens," Tesco wrote.
“We regularly test our fresh produce for quality but as we encourage our growers to move to more natural production methods and greatly reduce the application of pesticides, this can occasionally lead to the very odd insect being found."