Houston Arboretum Issues Puss Caterpiller, AKA Tree Asp, AKA Trump Caterpillar Warning

This little caterpillar is a pain in the asp! The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center has issued a warning about the dangerous stinging Puss Caterpillar, also known as the Tree Asp, and also known as (most amusingly) the Trump Caterpillar.

Can you guess why it’s called the Trump Caterpillar?
It also comes in white, gold, and dark gray.

The Flannel Moth larvae may look like a tiny fuzzy Persian Cat (which is presumably why it’s often called a Puss Caterpillar), but unlike a cuddly kitty, this insect has an agonizing sting if touched. It’s thick fur coat conceals venomous spines that stick to the skin and can cause intense pain for up to 12 hours.

Often compared to the toupee of Donald Trump, this caterpillar is also known for throwing its poop, possibly to evade predators. Needless to say, it is not known for it’s good manners or amiable personality.

Teach your young children not to touch or pick up any insects that they don’t recognize, and teach them to identify this common Houston area hazard.

Symptoms of puss caterpillar contact may include:

  • Immediate, intense pain that often comes in waves
  • A swelling, itching rash of red blotches and raised ridges
  • Restlessness and anxiety
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Muscle cramps
  • Swollen glands
  • Symptoms of shock

If you or your child come in contact with a Puss Caterpillar, immediately remove the poisonous spines using cellophane tape, and call your doctor or visit your closest ER.


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