A breed of hairy caterpillars — considered to the most poisonous in the US — have recently been spotted in Virginia.
The state’s Department of Forestry is warning residents to be on the lookout for puss caterpillars, which look soft and furry — but have hidden sharp spines that can stick to human skin.
“The ‘hairs’ of this caterpillar are actually venomous spines that cause a painful reaction if touched,” the agency wrote on Facebook.
The Cousin Itt-like critters’ venomous spine can cause symptoms including intense pain, itchy rashes nausea and vomiting when touched or brushed up against, according to the University of Michigan.
Last month, a woman in Richmond, Va., went to the emergency room after a run-in with one of the so-called “toxic toupees.”
“It felt exactly like a scorching-hot knife passing through the outside of my calf,” Crystal Spindel Gaston told The Virginia Mercury.
Even after she was treated with antihistamines and over-the-counter pain medication, Gaston said that “the stung spot “felt like a second- or third-degree burn, and I felt super achy, like my bones hurt.”
A Florida mother whose son brushed up against one of the fuzzy insects in 2018 said he experienced “the worst pain he had ever felt.”
Measuring less than 2-inches, the creepy crawlies feed on shade trees such as elm, oak and sycamore and are usually found in southern states, going up north to Maryland and west to Texas.
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World news – US – Officials issue warning after venomous hairy caterpillars spotted in Virginia