Watch Out for These Hairy, Venomous, and Kinda Cute Caterpillars

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Every once in a while, we need to reacquaint ourselves and teach children about wild Texas animals and insects we should be weary of. A particular species of caterpillar looks like they would be nice to pet with their “hairy,” tear-drop shaped bodies, but these little creatures carry a venomous sting in their “hairy” spines.

National Geographic says that the “puss caterpillar” (also known as an “asp”) was named for its furry cat-like body, but touching it either intentionally or by accident as it falls from a tree can be excruciating.

The pain of the sting often worsen after the initial shock, and it can last a day. Texas A&M’s AgriLife blog says, “Stings on the arm may also result in pain in the axillary (armpit) region. Erythematous (blood-colored) spots may appear at the site of the sting. Other symptoms include headaches, nausea, vomiting, lymphadenopathy, lymphadenitis, and sometimes shock or respiratory stress.”

Texas A&M states that treating a sting from these caterpillars is relatively simple. Grab an ice pack to apply to the area and take an oral antihistamine. Of course, if it appears someone is having an allergic reaction, they should see a doctor immediately. Also, if it looks like spines are still stuck at the sting sight, use tape or cellophane to pull the spines out.