This may look like a Halloween fright wig, but it's really a caterpillar called a puss caterpillar. If you see one, don't touch it! That fur is nothing to trifle with. And they are surprisingly common in Virginia this year.
Puss caterpillars’ fuzz hides spines filled with poison. It’s the most poisonous caterpillar found in the U.S., and its sting can cause nausea, vomiting, swelling and itching, and feelings of anxiety. Not pleasant, to say the least. In recent weeks, Virginia residents have unfortunately had a chance to experience this. A woman in the Richmond area touched one and said it felt like a “scorching-hot knife passing through the outside of my calf.” She was admitted to the emergency room to treat the sting. This is Virginia’s second outbreak of weird bugs this year. Cicadas overran the state this summer, buzzing up a storm.
Read more about the puss caterpillar at Gizmodo.
(Image credit: Virginia Department of Forestry)