Meet the puss caterpillar, as cute as it is dangerous

While this animal may look cute at first glance thanks to its thick fur: there is in truth, a very dangerous insect hiding beneath all that fluff!

Meet the puss caterpillar, as cute as it is dangerous
Continue reading
Read the article

This larva, known by the nickname 'puss caterpillar,' belongs to the Megalopyge opercularis family and is a true wolf in sheep's clothing. Under its soft coat of fur, the larva can be quite dangerous. You might have guessed it, but there are numerous highly poisonous stingers under all the the soft fluff...

Harmless? Far from it!

Under their fur are poisonous stingers that can trigger violent reactions and pain. Just having it touch your skin can spread the venom over your body.

This venom is not fatal, but its consequences are nonetheless severe: burns, swelling, nausea, headaches, abdominal pain, skin irritation, blistering and chest pain can be consequences of the stings. You can even get breathing problems from its harmful influence.

thumbnail
The puss caterpillar is a ferocious beastie Weber@Getty Images

Where can it be found?

This larva is native to the USA, Mexico and some parts of South America. It usually lives on oaks, citrus plants, rose bushes and ivy. If you come across one while travelling, be content to just watch it, but don't touch it or you will regret it.

However, if you do unintentionally come into contact with the puss caterpillar, there is something you can do to lessen its effects. You can stick a piece of duct tape on the spot and peel it off to pull out the stingers along with it.

This fluffy little creature is actually a dangerous insect This fluffy little creature is actually a dangerous insect