The White Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar may look cute and cuddly, but whatever you do, don’t touch. They’re native to Canada, but recently these caterpillars have found their way into states like Pennsylvania and Ohio.
A 5-year-old boy from State College, PA picked one up and let it crawl all over his hand. Within minutes, he broke out in a red itchy rash.
When provoked, the caterpillar excretes venom from its prickly hair that can cause a poison ivy-like breakout. Some people may experience an allergic reaction.
Another unassumingly dangerous caterpillar is the puss caterpillar, known as one of the most dangerous stingers in North America. This species can be found along the East Coast, from Maryland down to Florida.
A 2-year-old girl from Portsmouth, VA plucked up one of these “cuddly” caterpillars and immediately began screaming bloody murder. The next day, she still had puffy red marks on her hand from where she was stung.
In 2014, photos of the puss caterpillar went viral as a warning to people throughout the country. When this little guy stings, its brown hair is embedded into the skin, delivering painful toxins.