Monday, September 05, 2011

Looks can be deceiving

This is a caterpillar on the edge of the table in our backyard. So cute and fuzzy. You might imagine that giving it a little cuddle would be kind of like snuggling with a tiny kitten or a tuft of Patrick Swayze's hair. Not so. Ryan was cutting up a branch in our yard a couple days ago when he felt a pain in his arm. He looked down to find this little guy crawling on his shirt. He didn't immediately connect the pain with the caterpillar. Lil' Patrick Swayze was just too cute.

Swayze is a puss caterpillar, we now know, and the most poisonous caterpillar on the continent. His soft exterior hides poisonous spindles underneath which can cause pain ranging from a bee-like sting or, commonly, pain so terrible you think you are having a heart attack or dying. Ryan's pain was somewhere in-between, starting with stinging pain at the site and intense pain radiating up his arm and concentrating in the lymph nodes in his armpit.

So today when we saw one of these guys in our yard we did not go near it. Turns out he's harmless, of course. But ew!

Then I found a partially devoured grub, still alive and wiggling while ants were eating it. I'll spare you the picture of that one.

Ahh, nature.

In all my years of NC living I have never seen anything like either of these until this week!!


KevandChels said...

Ugh! I didn't realize catepillars could be poisonous? Glad Ryan lived to tell. Maybe those are only native to Greensboro? :)

Mark and Kim said...

Ewww. EWWW!! That totally changed my view of NC. I should go look up critters that are in Texas to make me feel better b/c they're probably worse!!

Catherine said...

Ewww! Never ever post these narsty pictures again! I am glad I've never seen these either, but I'll be sure to avoid them now. Poor Ryan!