HIGH POINT, N.C. - A North Carolina woman's post of a strange-looking venomous caterpillar is going viral. She's warning others not to touch it if they find one!
Suzie Crawford posted a video of what appears to be a "puss caterpillar" crawling on the brick wall of her home.
"It was really freaky looking. Odd looking. I thought it was a mouse at first," said Crawford. "I called my friend who likes critters and she looked it up and said don't touch it."
Crawford knew not to touch the bug from past experience.
She says she's been stung by a venomous caterpillar before.
"It's just intense pain. Stinging pain. It was on my neck," said Crawford. "I had to take duct tape to pick and pull it off, to get the little spines out. It was really painful."
Pest control experts confirmed the bug she found was a puss caterpillar, and it is considered venomous.
Frank Fowler with McNeely Pest Control says the insect gets its name because it resembles a cat's fur and tail.
Pest experts say the bug isn't common in the Triad, but if you or your pet are stung, it can cause illness or an allergic reaction.
"These toxins or poisons are not something that would be fatal to a human but they can cause excruciating pain and if you ever do it one time you will probably never do it again," said Fowler.
According to a National Geographic article, the puss caterpillar hides small, extremely toxic spines that can stick into your skin. Experts say the sting feels similar to a bee sting, only worse - it could even make your bones hurt.
Pest experts say you should avoid fuzzy or spiky caterpillars, because it's possible those could have toxic stings.
"If it's got hairs or if it's fuzzy or if it has spikes on it, leave it alone," said Fowler. "Even just a caterpillar itself, if you don't know what it is, the best thing to do is not touch it."
Crawford says she'll be watching her property closer than ever, especially after finding what appears to be another venomous caterpillar in her yard on Tuesday.
"Really creepy. I looked all day Saturday for creepy stuff around here. It makes me feel creepy. It makes me want to take all these bushes out," said Crawford. "I don't want any more caterpillars or critters."
Experts say there's really no way to keep caterpillars away from your house.
The only thing you can do is be alert.
Check your kids toys before they go outside to play and wear long sleeves and gloves if you're doing yard work.
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