Our Pet: Rosie the Mealworm and how we threw her away
We thought she (it) was dead! She had been a very good pet, not leaving a mess anywhere around the house, not making any noise or requiring too much attention. She was quite active and loved crawling under a freshly dampened piece of paper towel. She ate very little--just a tablespoon or so of oats. She didn't smell bad. Then one day I reminded my daughter to check her paper towel and when we opened the hummus container in which we kept her, she was curled into a C-shape and appeared dead. She'd only molted once. Oh well, so sorry, she's dead. Awwww. :( It was sad for a second, then we threw the container out. Two days later a classmate of my daughter's came to visit. They were in the same first grade class this past school year and had gone on the same field trip to a nature center where every student in the class brought home a pet meal worm. We were telling them how my daughter's meal worm had recently died--wait, it's just the dormant state? It's the first step toward becoming a pupae? I dug the container out of the trash and Rosie was in the same condition as she was when we threw the container away. Alright, so we'll watch for it to become pupae. The kitchen was pretty cluttered and in need of straightening up, so we didn't notice when the container got left out on the counter and not taken up to my daughters room. Two days later we remembered... where's Rosie? Uh oh. In the trash... again. Dad had thrown it away when cleaning up. Of course by this time the trash can was quite full. We were lucky it hadn't been emptied yet! I dug her out of the bottom of the trash... again; and this time sent her up to my daughter's room. Now I've read that if the meal worm curls up and turns dark that it really is dead. At this time Rosie's coloring is still looking the same, but there have been no changes for 5 days. If/when we do get a beetle, we'll be returning to the same nature center and releasing her (it) into the wild. And we will remember Rosie as the easiest, bestest pet we ever threw away and then dug out and then threw away and then dug out and then released. And the life cycle will be complete, I hope.
Addition: Rosie did become a "Darkling beetle" and was released to the great outdoors.