Is it just me or are caterpillars suddenly everywhere, and suddenly very dangerous? A super furry caterpillar that is commonly spotted in Texas may look like it's part of a Dr. Seuss book but it's sting can be brutal!

We recently heard about the Salt Marsh caterpillar that has been spotted in Houston and the good news there was that it was completely harmless! However, the salt marsh's distant cousin, the Puss Caterpillar is anything but!

Salt Marsh Caterpillar
California State Parks via YouTube

The puss caterpillar (Megalopyge opercularis), also known as the asp caterpillar, is a species of moth larva found primarily in the southeastern United States- so, you guessed it, that includes Texas! Experts say it's prominent in Dallas and South Texas.

It's furry and looks super soft; almost resembling a tuft of cotton or fur. It can be yellow, gray, or even a reddish-brown color, depending on the individual and its stage of development; like a ginger caterpillar, and it typically grows to about 1 inch to 1.5 inches in length. If I didn't know any better, it would look like the Lorax's mustache!

Puss Caterpillar in Texas
Brave Wilderness via YouTube

However, those little orange hairs have venomous glands at the end and when it gets you IT. HURTS! The sting can cause intense pain, burning, swelling, nausea, headaches, rashes, and sometimes more severe reactions like difficulty breathing or chest pain. The pain is often described as more severe than that of a bee or wasp sting!

Entomologist Molly Keck of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service told NPR that the pain caused by the caterpillar's sting varies from person to person. If the person is known to suffer extreme reactions to insect bites, the venom on the puss caterpillar can be super dangerous!

How can this furry little creature cause so much pain?! Mother nature is scary; so if you see this crawling mustache, it's better if you just go the other way!

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Gallery Credit: Chad Hasty

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