THE PUSS CATERPILLAR IS INVADING EVER FURTHER NORTH, NOW IN VIRGINIA
So Global Warming rears its ugly head again, this time with a species moving ever more north in the United States. Virginia now has a news guest in the wild, and they are not welcome. So they have the name Puss Caterpillars. They look exactly like the picture above. They are hairy and look like someone did a prank punk hair job on an unfortunate dog or beaver. But of course, it’s actually a lot smaller. And way more dangerous to your health. The Puss Caterpillar may look cute and fun to hold. But those hairs aren’t actually hairs. They are spines, full of poison to the touch. And, yes, they can make you vomit for quite a while.
PUSS CATERPILLAR LOOKS CUTE, BUT A SINGLE TINY TOUCH CAN BE A WHOLE DAY OF BURNING AGONY, MAKE YOU VOMIT
But that’s not all they can do to you. The Puss Caterpillar is the most venomous caterpillar in the United States. If you simply brush your finger on one, the sticky toxic spines will stick to your skin. And that can feel like a white-hot knife stabbing you. Really. And while it’s still burning in agony, you’ll see welts appear that match the exact pattern of the spines as they touched your skin. But there is, of course, more. The full list of reactions are rash, vomiting, fever, muscle cramps, swollen glands and a state of shock. So yeah, don’t touch them. Especially in a pandemic that may already have you weaker.
THE PUSS CATERPILLAR IS HARMLESS WHEN IT BECOMES A MOTH, SO PAY ATTENTION
So what is the Puss Caterpillar? Well, it’s the larval stage for the southern flannel moth. They eat oak and elm leaves. You can find them in the deeper South near parks and even buildings. Well, and now further north in the eastern portion of Virginia. Virginia Forestry officials have put out a warning, saying, “#SocialDistance away from this caterpillar!” Indeed. Here’s the way to understand why. A bee or wasp sting may hurt for maybe an hour. A Puss Caterpillar sting will cause you serious pain for 8, even 12 hours. See? Not cute at all.