Butterfly raised by family mauled to death by pet dog on release

A young US family has seen horror strike during what was supposed to be a heartwarming release of a butterfly they'd reared for weeks.

In simultaneously hilarious and horrifying footage, the butterfly the family had nurtured since it was a caterpillar was eaten just seconds after being released into the wild.

Video shows the mother carefully getting the butterfly out of its enclosure to set it free - but as soon as it took flight, the family dog caught it in its mouth, swallowing it whole.

The children were shocked and upset at witnessing their pet dog eat their much newer pet, learning a tough lesson about how cruel nature can really be.

The video was posted to Instagram by the kids' uncle, with the video getting more than 4000 views in six days.