They look cuddly!
You’re kids want to touch them when they see them!
Don’t touch these innocent looking fuzzy caterpillarsâ€¦ You’ll be sorry you did!
Warning: Puss Caterpillars Are Dangerous
A little warning for the next time you step outside your home. Be on the lookout for the cuddly looking caterpillar that’s sending residents to the ER in record numbers this year. They are referred to as puss caterpillars (Megalopyge opercularis), or asps.
You don’t want to cross paths with these little critters. They sting! These painful stings leave a distinct imprint on your skin; but this mark is just the beginning. An encounter with a puss caterpillar, or asp, can lead to a painful recovery.
The pain from a puss caterpillar sting is actually worse than that of a scorpion sting!
Puss caterpillars can hide in bushes, fall from trees, and even find their way into your home. If one happens to brush up against your skin, it will first feel like a hot frying pan has hit your skin. Asps have hollow spines that are full of venom. Reactions can be quite severe at times, and send you to the ER.
Keep you and your kids awayâ€¦ These caterpillars are dangerous!
Asp Sting Reactions
â— Burning sensation
â— Loss of breath
â— Muscle contractions
â— Drop in blood pressure
â— Blood can’t clot
Puss Caterpillar Range
Puss caterpillars are predominately found in the Southern United States; and are especially prevalent in Texas and Florida. In addition to being found in the Southern US; asps are also widely distributed in Mexico and South America.
Asps Invade Texas
During summers in Central Texas, it’s very common to come in contact with puss caterpillars. Nathaniel Greenwood is the Medical Director of the Cedar Park Emergency Center, and he said they have seen a spike in asp stings this summer.