These fluffy-looking, furry little caterpillars seem harmless. And they sometimes pull off a look so cute that you feel like keeping them as pets. Bear in mind, that the puss caterpillar is in no way whatsoever close to a cat. While the puss caterpillars are amazing to look at, Florida scientists warn the public not to touch them if they ever see one. Beneath all those fur, the puss caterpillar hides venomous bristles that if touched, may cause excruciating pain. According to these Florida scientists, the puss caterpillars are one of the most poisonous animals in Florida, with the toxin from its bristles could cause pain which is beyond the sting of scorpions, jellyfish, and wasps.
The puss caterpillars can be easily found in Florida during the seasons of early autumn and spring. These beautiful creatures can often be found on sycamore, oaks, and elm trees, but they often fall off. The puss caterpillar could grow up to one inch, and when it will eventually mature into a feathered southern flannel moth, which is harmless. If you attempt to touch a puss caterpillar, its bristles could break off in contact with the skin, and it could cost symptoms such as excruciating pain, and sometimes a drop in blood pressure, vomiting, and fever.
According to the doctors from the Florida Poison Information, a lot of people who got in contact with the puss caterpillar suffered from intense pain in contact with it to the point that they would even pass out from the pain. According to them, there had not been any reports of death caused by touching puss caterpillars, however, the pain could be extreme, as some patients would describe the stinging sensation as extremely painful. Not a feeling one would expect from attempting to pet such cute, furry, and fluffy creatures.
Based on a piece of information from The Poison Center in Tampa, whoever had accidentally gotten in contact with a puss caterpillar, would have to immediately take a scotch tape, and place it on the affected area. Pull off repeatedly around the contact area to remove as many poisonous bristles of the puss caterpillar as much as possible. This should take out the stinging spines, and it would eventually help to reduce the pain as much as possible. Once the Scotch taping technique is done, use an ice pack to ice the area, followed by rubbing the affected area with a paste consisting of baking soda and water.
However, the reaction could be severe if the patient has asthma, allergy, or hay fever, and if in contact, they should immediately seek help from emergency departments. It is true when it comes to the puss caterpillar, looks can be deceiving. They seem very cute and cuddly due to their thick fur, but one touch would be enough to teach you the lesson of a lifetime. The puss caterpillar lets out a poison-ivy-like venom from its fur, and when it contacts the victim, the effects could turn up almost immediately, if not, instantly.
The poisonous fur is mainly for the self defense of the puss caterpillar. It only secretes the venom when it feels threatened. A poor 2-year-old child saw a puss caterpillar and decided to pick it up to play, but just as soon as the poor toddler picked it up, he started screaming in pain immediately. That is how fast the feeling sets, and it is said it has one of the worst things. The poor child had swollen hands for days after the incident. Because of various similar incidents, parents were asked to monitor their children and warn them to not touch these fluffy animals if they ever set eyes on them.
The warning even came out on various news and media platforms, as many families were not educated and informed on how dangerous these furry creatures are. This is very dangerous, especially for younger children who might play with it, thinking that it does not cause any harm due to its cute appearance. Please inform anyone who has children, or your children regarding the dangers of touching a puss caterpillar. Show them pictures and let them know what it looks like, and educate them, that no matter how cute these things are, they are certainly dangerous.