Meet the Adorable (But Dangerous) Caterpillar That's Giving Children Rashes

Don't let all that fluffiness fool you.

If you're like us and feel compelled to pick up and cuddle anything and everything cute and fluffy, this is important: You'll definitely want to avoid this little guy — unless you enjoy venomous hairs embedded in your skin.

Despite their appearance, white hickory tussock moth caterpillars, which originally hail from Canada, are showing up in Pennsylvania with some very dangerous consequences. Hiding in their fuzzy hair are black spines that contain poisonous venom they use to ward off predators. And if a human comes into contact with them, the skin can get highly irritated.

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Such was the case with Joseph Bentz's unsuspecting young son. Within minutes of touching a caterpillar, he broke out in a rash.

"There have been many reported cases; none of them fatal, but all strange, new, and concerning," Bentz, a doctor with MedExpress, told WJAC. "They don't mean to do it, but it is part of their defense mechanism against large predators and toddlers."

The good news? According to Bentz, the rashes are only temporary and can be treated at home with lotion and ice. The better news? With winter approaching, the caterpillars will soon be going into hibernation.

From: GoodHousekeeping
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