1. says

    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…)

  2. says

    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.

  3. Dan says

    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.

  4. Tom says

    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.

  5. says

    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….

  6. says

    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 ūüėČ

    Yes, I am slightly ridiculous around bugs. LOL.

  7. Andrew says

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

  8. Fix It Again Tony says

    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”.