2020 probably isn’t winding down any time soon and fast on the heels of those murder hornets we were talking about a few weeks ago, there have now been multiple sightings of highly venomous caterpillars in the US state of Virginia.
The hairy caterpillar is known as a puss caterpillar and has long been considered one of the most venomous caterpillars in the world. They’ve been spotted in the eastern part of the state in parks or near structures and people are being warned to keep their distance from them if they encounter any of them.
Here’s what Theresa Dellinger, who works at Virginia Tech university as a diagnostician in their Insect Identification Lab, said to CNN:
There are little hollow hairs in that fluffy, hairy material.
It’s not going to reach out and bite you, but if someone brushes up against that hair, it’ll release toxins that you’ll have a reaction to.
This reaction could be anything from a horrific rash to vomiting or swollen glands or a fever.
The experience has been likened to a scorching hot knife being plunged into you.
Yikes. The puss caterpillar is normally only found further south in the United States, but due to climate change it’s now ventured further north into Virginia. Scientists aren’t worried about this migration and are hoping that natural predators will sort them out, but I guess they need to let people know what’s going on in case they end up suffering an adverse reaction from them. Be careful if you’re out there in Virginia.
For more of the same, check out these toxic caterpillars that invaded the UK last year. Wonder what happened to them?