Weird venomous caterpillars that look like walking toupées are invading Virginia

Oct 16, 2020
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The name of these caterpillars is puss caterpillars, not pus. And they don't secrete pus, they secrete venom.
 
Oct 16, 2020
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little misleading I'm afraid. Puss/asp caterpillars do not have venomous hair so to speak. That hair actually obscures venomous spines located on the caterpillars back. You can actually rub the tufts of hair with no consequence so long as you do not apply any pressure at all onto the caterpillar or you would be stung at that point. Notice in the articles example case that it cited a woman who brushed up against the caterpillar with her leg. I imagine that constituted more than just a light touch. Years ago when I didn't even know what these were I did in fact do this with one I found on my porch. Thought I found the cutest bug there ever was and went to pet it. Since it was a bug I was careful not to hurt it and kept an extremely light touch. I only found out later that what I was doing was rather stupid but I can say I did not receive a shot of venom for it since I never pressed on it. Not saying you should go out and try it yourself though! Just that they aren't oozing painful venom from their "fur".
 
Oct 16, 2020
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I was stung by one of these. As I mowed my lawn, one landed on my upper arm. Without looking, I brushed it off with my left hand, wiping it down my arm. It was horrible. It produced extremely severe pain, shaking, nausea, and dizziness. The pain was worst in my arm and hand, but radiated throughout my whole body. The symptoms lasted for quite a while.
 

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