Believe it or not, not all cute looking creatures in the world are friendly and harmless. Some have proven to be very venomous and even fatal. When it comes to encountering beautiful creatures, an old adage explains it all by saying “look but no touch.”
Here is one cutest creature that appears to be very attractive which every curious finger would love to touch. This was the case of a mother and her little kids who were having fun at the playground one day when she spotted a good-looking creature that she has never seen in her life before – it was a fuzzy caterpillar.
Taking the look of a one inch long fluffy little larva covered in cat hair, this insect is commonly referred to as the puss caterpillar. Southern flannel moth caterpillar or tree asp are other names for this little fella (Megalopyge opercularis). They are commonly found in wet habitats around Texas, Maryland, Florida and Missouri, as well as some other states located in-between.
Although it takes the resemblance of a Tribble (a Star Trek fan would notice this), however, it is more venomous and harmful than the Tribble which is relatively harmless. Our furry friend has got 6 rows of urticating hairs right beneath its fur. However, this is quite deceptive as the seemingly adorable creature is actually covered in pain causing barbs that are filled with venom.
No doubt, the puss caterpillar is highly venomous. Like mini-hypodermic needles, its specialized hairs are connected to venom filled glands that inject the poison upon contact. These strange caterpillars are really seen during other seasons except when it is spring, as this is when they emerge from their cocoons.
While consuming the foliage they find around them, they then begin to grow and darken in color. Envenomation is at its prime as from early summer to early fall when the spring-time caterpillars transform into moths to give rise to a second generation through the laying of eggs.
Particularly in Texas, the puss moth caterpillar is historically known to be causing unending problems. Its infestation led to the shutdown of several schools in San Antonio in 1921 until the authorities were able to get its population under control.
An attack from the puss moth could yield to certain symptoms of envenomation that range from painful to severe. It usually stings humans in common places like arms, hands and feet.