Stay Safe from Dangerous Caterpillars

Caterpillars may seem harmless, but there are some species that can cause serious harm if provoked. One man, Keith Schoonover, recently shared his terrifying encounter with one of the most poisonous caterpillars in North America. His story serves as a reminder to everyone, especially older individuals, to avoid touching these creatures at all costs.

A Terrifying Encounter

Schoonover took to social media to warn others about his painful experience. When he accidentally touched one of these caterpillars while moving a chair, he endured hours of excruciating pain. He described it as feeling like a broken hand for 14 long hours. The pain even radiated up to his armpit and chest. It was truly an ordeal that he won’t soon forget.

The Culprit: Puss Caterpillar

So, what kind of caterpillar caused such agony? The species in question is commonly known as the Puss Caterpillar or by its scientific name, “Megalopyge opercularis.” This caterpillar releases spines that can break off and embed in your skin. It also produces an irritating fluid that immediately causes a burning sensation. These effects can be extremely painful and uncomfortable.

According to the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the University of Georgia, the Puss Caterpillar is not to be taken lightly. It is considered the most venomous caterpillar in the United States and ranks among the top 15 most dangerous insects in the world. So, if you ever come across one, remember to keep your distance and avoid touching it.

Deceptive Appearance

The Puss Caterpillar may look harmless, resembling a fluffy cat, but its appearance is deceiving. It measures only about 1 and ½ inches long, making it easy to underestimate its potential danger. However, its venomous spines and irritating fluid can cause significant discomfort and even blisters, as Schoonover experienced firsthand.

Sharing Knowledge to Protect Others

To help others identify these caterpillars, Schoonover recorded a video of his encounter. By sharing this footage, he hopes to prevent others, especially seniors, from going through the same painful ordeal. These caterpillars are commonly found in southeastern states, all the way up to Texas and New Jersey. So, if you live in these areas, be especially cautious and educate yourself about the Puss Caterpillar’s appearance.

Stay Safe and Spread Awareness

Share this vital information with your friends and family, especially if they may not be aware of just how harmful these seemingly innocent creatures can be. Let’s protect ourselves and stay safe by staying away from these dangerous caterpillars. Stay vigilant and enjoy nature without putting yourself at risk.