Typing the situation here, helped me to calm down and think a bit. I decided that the risk of whatever is getting her stuck hardening
overnight was greater than my concern over handling her, and that if spraying the cremaster so effectively loosens the silk, spraying with water should
help soften what's holding her.
I went ahead and thoroughly sprayed her chrysalis shell and all around the cremaster (it was a "damsel in distress"
). At first, I was sure I'd made a TERRIBLE mistake because she went into a panic and fluttered all over (well what would YOU do if someone sprayed your tush with cold water when you were exhaused and resting, more than likely, like she was?
) beating herself up all over the ceiling and other dried up chrysalises around hers. But reaching in the enclosure and cupping her in my hand immediately settled her down. She hung on to my fingers and tried to pull herself off. Her efforts showed me the critical view of the situation -- that her tail-tip was completely free of the cremaster
and she was only stuck to one soiled and dried up piece of the chrysalis. After a couple of tries, I was able to get my fingers between her abdomen
and the cremaster and pinch with my fingertips at the offending piece of chrysalis.
She came off all of a sudden, and fluttered to the floor, but she was FREE and unhurt. I let her climb on my fingers, and offered to set her down on the Gatorade-soaked cottonball. She was not interested in feeding, but, when coaxed, willingly climbed up the netting of the enclosure. Once she was at the top/ceiling, she constantly opened/closed her wings. At first, it seemed like the bottom inside edges of the hindwings were stuck alongside her abdomen
, but after about the 7th or 8th open close exercise, I finally saw the gaps between the abdomen
and the hindwings on both sides, and on the 9th beat, she lifted her tail up completely away from her abdomen
. (Possibly the waterspray DID help.)
WE'RE GOOD! I see no obvious signs of problems and I can finally go to bed.