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It may look like a lost wig, but this venomous caterpillar is in Virginia’s forests

Be sure to apply social distancing guidelines with this venomous larva

Venomous caterpillar found in a few Eastern Virginia counties
Venomous caterpillar found in a few Eastern Virginia counties (VDOF)

This peculiar larva is known as a puss caterpillar, and the name is as appealing as it looks.

According to the Virginia Department of Forestry, these hairy caterpillars have been found in some eastern counties in Virginia and it’s raised some concerns.

Despite its size, it is considered one of the most venomous caterpillars in the country.

What appears to be hairs is actually venomous spines that cause a painful reaction if touched, said the VDOF.

Though the caterpillars eat oak and elms leaves, they can be found in parks or near structures.

If you come across a puss caterpillar, VDOF advises that you leave it alone and let its natural enemies control their populations as there are several other insects that will prey on them.


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