What Caterpillars Should You Not Touch? [Hickory Spiny]

We all know that caterpillars turn into butterflies, but did you know that some of them can be poisonous? It’s true!

There are certain types of caterpillars that you should never touch, as their spines and hairs can contain poison that can cause skin irritation, rashes, and even respiratory problems.

So, which caterpillars should you avoid? Read on to find out!

The Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar

The Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar is one type of caterpillar that you definitely want to stay away from. These cute little guys may look harmless, but they’re actually covered in sharp spines and poisonous hairs.

If you come into contact with one of these caterpillars, you may experience skin irritation, rashes, and swelling.

In some cases, the poison can even cause respiratory problems. So, it’s best to just admire these guys from a distance!

The Spiny Oak Slug Moth Caterpillar

Another type of caterpillar that you should avoid is the Spiny Oak Slug Moth Caterpillar. These caterpillars are covered in sharp spines that can pierce your skin.

They also have venomous glands that can release a poisonous substance if the caterpillar feels threatened.

If you come into contact with one of these caterpillars, you may experience intense pain, swelling, and redness at the site of the sting.

In some cases, the venom can even cause an allergic reaction. So, it’s best to just admire these guys from a distance as well!

There are many different types of caterpillars in the world, but not all of them are safe to touch.

The next time you see a caterpillar, make sure to do your research first to find out if it’s safe to handle.

And if you’re ever in doubt, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and just admire these creatures from a distance!


What do caterpillars eat?

Caterpillars primarily feed on plant leaves, though some may also consume fruit or tree sap. Some species have very specific dietary requirements, while others will eat a variety of plants.

How do caterpillars turn into butterflies or moths?

After a period of feeding and growing, the caterpillar will form a cocoon or chrysalis and undergo metamorphosis to transform into an adult butterfly or moth.

Are all caterpillars harmful to plants?

Not all caterpillars feed on plants and can actually be helpful in pollination. However, some species can cause significant damage to crops and garden plants.

Can caterpillars hurt humans or animals?

Some caterpillar species have bristles or hairs that can irritate the skin or cause allergic reactions in humans and animals. In rare cases, certain species may also release venom or poisonous chemicals as a defense mechanism.

Why do monarch butterflies have specific migratory patterns?

Scientists believe that monarch butterflies have evolved to migrate in order to find optimal conditions for breeding and feeding during different times of the year.

How does a caterpillar protect itself from predators?

Caterpillars may use camouflage to blend in with their surroundings and avoid detection by predators. They may also release foul odors as a defense mechanism, or make themselves appear larger by flaring out their body segments.

Do all caterpillars turn into moths or butterflies?

No, there are some species of caterpillars that will instead turn into flying insects such as wasps or flies after metamorphosis.

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