When most people see something furry, their first inclination is probably to pet it. That would be unwise in the case of this fuzzy Texas caterpillar though, because they are the most venomous in the country.
The furry caterpillar comes in various colors from orange to grey, and some have compared them to tiny toupees. What looks like fur on the outside of the caterpillar though is actually setae, or bristles, containing small barbs covered in a toxin that causes severe pain, headaches and nausea. Reactions to the toxin can be worse if you’re allergic.
This cute yet not-so-cuddly caterpillar has several names. It’s generally called an Asp in most parts of the Lone Star State. Some people refer to it as the puss caterpillar though, in recognition of its resemblance to a Persian cat. Don’t pet the fluffy insect, or you’ll sustain a powerful sting.
Though we normally think of caterpillars in relation to butterflies, moths also start out life as a caterpillar. Megalopyge opercularis, commonly called the Southern Flannel Moth, is a super fluffy insect that creates an adorably fuzzy, venomous caterpillar.
If an asp stings you, it’s best to seek immediate medical attention. Prevention is the best cure though, and now you know what to look for.