WEIRD NEWS
09/10/2014 12:11 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

WATCH OUT For the Puss Caterpillar

It looks so nice to touch. But you mustn't touch.

That's the message that's circulating amongst local Florida media this month about the puss caterpillar. A cute but venomous variety of caterpillar that is especially common in the area at this time of year.

Story continues after caterpillar o' doom

  • Don Hall / University of Florida
  • Don Hall / University of Florida
  • Don Hall / University of Florida
  • Don Hall / University of Florida
  • Don Hall / University of Florida
  • Don Hall / University of Florida

Under all that fur on the puss caterpillar are venomous bristles that break off into the skin when touched by humans and cause serious pain. This caterpillar is the most poisonous in the country, and makes its home in several different kinds of trees found in Florida, such as elm, oak and sycamore.

Emergency room physician Dr. Glenn Hardesty told KTAL, "It's the pain. It is instant and immediate and it's very intense." He said the sensation is worse than a sting from a bee or scorpion.

Don't live in Florida? You should still be filled with fear. The puss caterpillar can be found along the east coast from New Jersey to Florida and as far west as Texas "where it is most prevalent," according to KTAL.

Summer is over. The season of pain and suffering is upon us.

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