Caterpillar with ‘venomous spines’ reported in several eastern Virginia counties, VDOF says


CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia Department of Forestry is asking residents to stay away from a certain kind of caterpillar crawling its way to some parts of the state.

Members of VDOF’s health team said Tuesday that they had received reports of what is known as the puss caterpillar in a “few eastern Virginia counties.” They later clarified that meant Richmond and Amelia County, and not Hampton Roads.

Although it might look harmless, fluffy and nice, it is not.

The VDOF says the “hairs” of this caterpillar are actually venomous spines that cause a painful reaction to anyone that touches them.

Puss caterpillars eat oak and elm leaves, but they can be found in parks or near structures.

Officials say that if you find the caterpillar, you should leave it alone and “let its natural enemies control their populations.”

What are their natural enemies, you might ask? They are insects that prey on the caterpillars at different stages of their life cycle.

To learn more about the puss caterpillar, click here.

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