Hi, Mr. Nature here! I haven’t been around much lately because I don’t want anybody to think I even know Joe Collidge.
But I’m here today to warn you off those furry, cuddly-looking caterpillars that just say “Pet me!” when you look at them. Believe me, you’ll be mighty sorry if you do pet one of them.
These critters are found throughout the Southeastern US, as far west as Texas, where they’re all over the place, and as far north as New Jersey.
If you’re really lucky, getting stung by one of these–and the venom is injected on contact, the caterpillar doesn’t have to do it on purpose–it will only be extremely painful. If you’re not so lucky, it will be much worse. It won’t kill you, but the sting of the puss caterpillar has been likened to that of a scorpion. In some parts of the country they’re called tree asps. (If you don’t know what that means, you need to do more crossword puzzles.)
I repeat: don’t touch!