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17 September 2008



Puss caterpillars? Eww! But what a fascinating looking creature. It was prudent of you to resist touching it. I probably would have.

Being in Texas, I have heard of asp caterpillars but thought they were the fuzzy black ones. I actually have been stung by a caterpillar before. I was clearing out some ivy in Raleigh when I felt something snap against my forearm, like a stick that had bent and snapped as it broke. When I got a rash a few minutes later, I poked around in the ivy to see what had stung me, and that's when I spotted a hairy caterpillar. The sting was a little painful but nothing like the reaction described for the puss caterpillar. Thank goodness.


Hmmm... It looks like your little caterpillars aren't as obvious as the ones recently shared at Ugly Overload: http://uglyoverload.blogspot.com/2008/09/caterpillars-of-death.html.

Shouldn't a scorchingly nasty critter give some indication that it's less than desirable? Your little fuzzy fella looked almost cuddly.

Or it looked like a fuzzy bird dropping, but mimicry and nastiness don't usually go hand in hand.
[Arte Johnson] Very intereschting... but schtupud! [/Arte Johnson]


Sorry, you'll have to pull the "." off the end of that URL to make it work.

Annie in Austin

Lucky leaf, Pam!

When I saw the photo it reminded me of something the Divas had warned me about called 'asp'... then saw that name further down the page.
And here I was just about ready to ditch Texas and head for Carolina after seeing Bob's post about Kissing Bugs.

Henry Mitchell was right. It's not nice to garden anywhere.



Pam/Digging, from what I've read, there are ~50 of this stinging caterpillars in this Genus - and the one that I saw can vary in color - and includes some of the black furry ones! It also seems that the range of (pain) responses can be quite large - so you were lucky.

MikeG, they say a problem with these cute furry ones is indeed that kids (oh lets face it, adults) think they're sweet and cuddly, so of course - pick them up. And WOW - I don't think I'd go pick up those caterpillars at that link (I mean, LETHAL caterpillars???? Yikes.).

Annie, and here I was, just watching our for snakes! It begs the age old philosophical question: is one more likely to be biten by a snake when aware of them (so over cautious and looking out for them?) or is it simply better to not look for them? (Well, perhaps this isn't an 'age old philosophical question', but it is one that is often brought up while hiking)...but yuck - Chagas? Can take up to 20 years to kill you? I've never heard of that one either. Perhaps we should all stay indoors (never!).


I thought I only had to worry about petting things in Australia! Dang, I would totally have touched that caterpillar. Once.


I guess I have to stop teasing lily about being scared of caterpillars now. that thing is CREEPY. and yet so harmless looking. wow.


Cat, nice to hear from you, and on such a creepy topic!!! Hope all is well.

Kate...Lily is indeed redeemed. I just had dinner with Susan and Lorri - and brought Lorri a gift from Australia for coming to feed Haiku a few times while I was gone (the dogs were boarded). When I told her the venomous caterpillar story she said 'and to think I was freaked out about the snakes!'...and now Jeff is saying he won't come out to my place again (half-kiddingly, I think...). But yeah...WOW. I knew very little (aka nothing) about any of these. Do show some of the website links to Lily!


Yikes Pam! That's pretty scary. I probably would have been the idiot to pick it up and go "PRETTY!" as I cradled it to my face.

Man, there are a lot of things in Charleston that can kill you or cause you awful pain.

Annie in Austin

Central Texas also has scorpions and fire ants... is there a prize?


Yeah, I totally would have picked up that cute little cat--I admit it. :(

Feeble stars and desperate skies, indeed...


Annie, we have fire ants - but scorpions? I don't think so. I don't think they sound like much fun! The 'prize' made me laugh: when I was in Australia, it definitely seemed to be a classic tourist line to say every few minutes how something unusual (and generally innocuous-looking could kill you). Or at the very least make your life miserable as hell for awhile! I purchased one plant book while I was there (I couldn't resist - a small paperback titled 'Plants of Tropical North Queensland, the Compact Guide') - and the first chapter was title 'Some Harmful Plants' - starting with the harmLESS looking Gympi gympi, the stinging tree. If there were a prize, I kinda think they'd win!

Kim, it was kinda strange (in retrospect) that I didn't pick it up - but I'm certaily glad that I didn't.

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