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Don't Touch the Puss


There are many extraordinary things about this Puss caterpillar, but perhaps the most extraordinary is that it has almost 4 million views on YouTube.

Don't touch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

(via slog)

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  1. As an Entomologist by trade, I say "Awww, so cute!"- Although not so cute if you pick them up- the fur conceals a whole battery of venomous spines that will make you *very* sorry for petting the puss...

    (Not as sorry as if you pet the South American caterpillar Lonomia obliqua, which causes massive internal bleeding that can be fatal...)

    Posted by: wirrrn | Jun 24, 2009 7:56:34 PM

  2. Obviously looking a toupee in Bolivia offers some kind of survival adaptation!

    Posted by: Kevin | Jun 24, 2009 8:05:28 PM

  3. The 'fur' of the larva contains venomous spines that cause extremely painful reactions in human skin upon contact. The reactions are sometimes localized to the affected area but are often very severe, radiating up a limb and causing burning, swelling, nausea, headache, abdominal distress, rashes, blisters, and sometimes chest pain, numbness, or difficulty breathing (Eagleman 2008). Additionally, it is not unusual to find sweating from the welts or hives at the site of the sting.

    Posted by: Paperbagwriter | Jun 24, 2009 8:06:43 PM

  4. I really thought it was a remote mechanical furry toy (like an invention from Japan)... Cute - but form WIRRRN's comment - so not nice to play with. These Caterpillars in South American can really pack a punch.

    Posted by: Dan | Jun 24, 2009 10:43:14 PM

  5. Looks so cute and harmless - whereas most caterpillars here in the States look so 'hmmm...' but actually are harmless. This one is NOT.

    Thank you, Andy - or whoever found this to post.
    A really nice respite after the sad Sanford ordeal. (may his family never have to touch one of these, God bless them!) Sanford, on the other hand, should receive a boxful without any warning...

    This is a wonderful creature - even more so knowing you "can't touch it" without repercussions.

    Posted by: Tom | Jun 24, 2009 11:29:53 PM

  6. They look like little cotton balls when they're larva.

    Posted by: KFLO | Jun 25, 2009 12:57:08 AM

  7. The most evil-looking thing I ever saw!

    Posted by: Kugel | Jun 25, 2009 3:32:00 AM

  8. Dan- Not just *South* America either- You North Americans should steer clear of the Southern Flannel Moth's (Megalopyge opurcularis) caterpillar as well- another type of Puss Moth very common in warmer states (eg Texas) with a particular fondness for pear trees- again, touching the fuzzy, cute widdle fellers will bring you in contact with a battery of venomous stings which are said to be the most painful of any invertebrate defence mechanism in North America....

    Posted by: wirrrn | Jun 25, 2009 4:55:02 AM

  9. I have heard that even regular, N.A. caterpillars do sting, against popular misconception. Now, of course, a quick trip to wikipedia could probably clear that sucker right up... but in the case of bugs, I just assume they all sting ;)

    Yes, I am slightly ridiculous around bugs. LOL.

    Posted by: Ryan | Jun 25, 2009 7:54:23 AM

  10. ...haven't touched a puss since high school.

    Posted by: NSFW | Jun 25, 2009 8:05:59 AM

  11. I thought it was a squirmel.

    Posted by: rob | Jun 25, 2009 10:39:33 AM

  12. another reason to hate bugs.


    Posted by: kyle Schmit | Jun 25, 2009 10:49:24 AM

  13. Cute? That has got to be one of the scariest looking bugs I've ever seen. It being so abnormal looking and furry, ugh.

    Posted by: Andrew | Jun 25, 2009 12:01:30 PM

  14. Wirrrn was right. In Texas, we used to call them "Asps". I had been warned never to touch them, and to be particularly careful around our cedar tree (they seemed more fond of it than our pear tree.
    I had the misfortune of accidentally kneeling down on one as a kid. YES, it was horribly painful. Yes, it resulted in a blister which was pretty much the size and shape of the little creature (~1.5"x~.5"). And it lasted for weeks. It's not something I'd care to repeat, nor wish on my worst enemy. Oh, the scientific name for the one in the South is "Megalopyge opercularis".

    Posted by: Fix It Again Tony | Jun 25, 2009 1:49:14 PM

  15. will it turn into a butterfly?

    Posted by: mish | Jun 25, 2009 5:55:10 PM

  16. my skin is crawling

    Posted by: Ryon Mikeska | Sep 2, 2011 3:51:35 PM

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