CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Southern Flannel Moth Caterpillar (Megalopyge opercularis)
Also known as Asp Caterpillar, Puss Caterpillar. ******spines are EXTREMELY VENOMOUS*******
Years back my laborador was stung and got pretty sick with vomiting, diarreah, disorientation, lethargy. Symptoms lasted approximately two days but he recovered without any lasting effects. Recommend relocating to areas not frequented by pets/humans.
The caterpillar itself looks like a soft and cuddily tuft of fur. Children should be made aware so they don’t pick up the “cute caterpillar”.
Does minimal damage to plants.
Larval host: multiple plants. I’ve found it on wax myrtle (bayberry); shown on Redbud.
Shown on Florida Native Plant: EASTERN REDBUD (Cercis canadensis)