Beware the Puss Moth Caterpillar

Image result for images of puss caterpillar

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!

4 comments on “Beware the Puss Moth Caterpillar

  1. These critters were all over the place in South Florida. They particularly liked my Oleander bushes. They really are a nuisance! And most people down south have sense enough to leave them alone – except for trying to eradicate them with some type of insecticide.

    1. Yes, Goldbug, you’re correct. They’re very small – maybe an inch or so long at most. My method of attempting to rid my poor Oleanders of these things was to prune the laden branches and put them in plastic bags where I then sprayed them, rather than spraying into the whole tree and in the air.

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