Puss Caterpillar

This caterpillar was given its name because of its resemblance to a cuddly cat. It is furry and only about an inch long, giving it a mostly adorable appearance. But don’t touch it! The furry puss caterpillar is one of the deadliest caterpillars in the United States.

Photo by Brett Hondow, 2013

Their outer furry hairs hide tiny, toxic spines. If you come into contact with them, the spines will stick in your skin. The stings can be incredibly painful, like a bee sting, but worse. And, the pain worsens over times and radiates through the body. Some people have reported that the stings make their bones hurt. Luckily, most people recover by removing the spines, then treating with ice and antihistamines.

Now the story of the puss caterpillar doesn’t end there. This furry, adorable, toxic caterpillar turns into a poop flinging moth. You can’t make this stuff up. As adults, the puss caterpillars turn into flannel moths. According to National Geographic, female flannel moths fling poop away from their bodies. Scientists believe the reason for this is to keep away parasites that are attracted to poop and may harm the caterpillars.