Throughout history, humans have gained the ability to recognize and avoid certain animals and creatures. While many pose no threat to us, it’s still important to be cautious when in nature.
This is precisely what Leslie Howe did when she noticed a strange furry ball near her children at a local playground in Gwinnett County, Georgia. She trusted her instincts and it ended up being the right decision.
Leslie was with her baby and two other children at the park when she noticed a small, harmless-looking “fur ball”. However, she had a gut feeling to stay away from it.
Later on, she found out that the furry creature was actually a puss caterpillar covered in hair that disguises toxic bristles. The caterpillar’s poison can be injected, making it dangerous. Leslie hopes her story can warn other parents about the potential danger of this caterpillar.
The puss caterpillar is a type of larva that can be found in many parts of the United States, particularly in states between New Jersey and Florida and as far west as Texas.
These larvae grow to a little over 1 inch in length and feed on foliage. It is important to avoid touching them, as their sting is very painful and can cause the caterpillar to stick to your skin and inject venom.
The pain of the sting can be compared to a wasp sting but is often worse, and can even cause pain in the bones. The severity of the pain depends on where the caterpillar stings and how many tags dig into the skin.
People who have been stung on their hands have reported feeling the pain up to their shoulders and lasting for up to twelve hours as per reports. Even experts like Eric Day, manager of Virginia Tech’s Insect ID Lab, have experienced the painful sting of the puss caterpillar. After accidentally brushing against a tree while mowing his lawn, he suffered from a burning sensation that lasted for a day or two and a visible blister and irritated area for several weeks.
In case of a sting from the puss caterpillar, it is recommended to remove the venomous hairs using tape and clean the affected area with soap and water. To alleviate itching, one may use hydrocortisone cream or baking soda.
Seeking medical assistance is advised if the situation worsens. Although puss caterpillar stings are not usually fatal, they could cause anaphylaxis, which is a severe allergic reaction that can be life-threatening.
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