Megalopyge opercularis is a very real insect. Commonly known as the puss caterpillar, due to its resemblance to a fluffy house cat, these little creatures are anything but friendly. You need to know this because they look quite cute and it’s quite amusing to watch them wriggle and their attraction can pose a hazard to curious children, because those fluffy-looking hairs are actually spikes, loaded with venom!
Reactions to the venom typically aren’t fatal, but can be quite severe. You will get anything from a localized, itching, burning rash at the site of the stings, to a full-body mess of burning, tingling, chest pains, blisters, headache, nausea, and more! The best thing you can do if you see one is to avoid it and warn others who may be nearby. If you or someone with you has come into contact, the first thing you should do is try to find some cellophane tape, which can be used to remove the venomous barbs. Then, take an antihistamine and seek medical attention right away.
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