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Usually, they chomp away on leaves high in the trees, but some have been spotted crawling in many outdoor spaces. Warnings have been issued in Florida and Texas, but they have been spotted in several other states.
What do they look like? They have long silky hair that resembles fur in shades of yellow to reddish brown, making them a curiosity for children interested in creepy, crawly things. Some of us have children in our life circles who love to investigate and who want to show us any creature they can get their hands on. This is one creature we want them to avoid.
And, because they do fall from the trees, anyone doing outdoor work should be on the lookout.
The Puss Moth Caterpillar has spiny hairs that embed themselves in the skin of someone unlucky enough to touch one. These venomous spines cause reactions that range from pain and rashes to nausea, belly pain, and headache, to more severe shock and respiratory problems (merckmanuals.com).
To see what they look like, click on the link below: http://www.myfoxhouston.com/
Dr. Nancy Hinkle, Entomologist, University of Georgia, recommends removing the spines from the skin with scotch tape. Washing the skin with soap and water and applying ice packs help. More severe reactions warrant a trip to the doctor.