Stay away from this fuzzy little guy if you see him out and about!

The puss caterpillar may look cute, but its fluffy coat hides venomous spikes that can be highly toxic if they come in contact with your skin.

The Virginia Department of Forestry is reporting several sightings, most originating in Eastern Virginia counties. Locals are taking to social media to share their shots from all over the state.

If you have the misfortune of brushing against a puss caterpillar with bare skin, you may not even realize what happened. Victims describe the contact as a sharp pain, almost as if you were stung by a jellyfish or cut somehow. A red rash may appear in the affected area, but you should resist the urge to scratch it.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Can a caterpillar still be cute even when it is a danger-floof? I would argue yes, it certainly can, especially when it is inquisitively observing you, waving its tiny legs, and waddling along like a minuscule Pekingese. This little guy gave me intense “wannatouchit” urges, which I of course ignored, because each of his luxurious hairs is actually a spine filled with potent venom, the sting of which has been compared to blunt force trauma. He was unfortunately on a very busy path surrounded by kids, dogs, and horses, so we VERY CAREFULLY moved him to safety. #junglesoftheamericansoutheast #bugspotting #pusscaterpillar #aspcaterpillar #megalopygeopercularis

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Depending on the severity of the reaction, you may choose to seek medical care. A healthcare professional will clean the area, check for broken spines that remain, and possibly apply a topical medication. Other than the skin irritation, you could also experience headaches, fever, vomiting, nausea, and other symptoms.

The caterpillars will ultimately morph into flannel moths, but for the fall season, you should be on the lookout for them in this distinctive form and steer clear. Color and markings can vary by region, so you basically want to avoid any similar caterpillars that you encounter.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Saw this little guy crawling around outside this morning 🐛 . While it may look cute and fuzzy, the puss caterpillar causes a very painful characteristic rash when it’s hairs come into contact with human skin. . Fall 🍂🍁is peak season for these guys, so keep an eye out when you are playing in the yard or park. . Second photo courtesy of tamu.edu . #pusscaterpillar #asp #mothcaterpillar #exploring #science #nature #cutebutdangerous #rash #contactdermatitis #venemousanimals . 👩🏻‍⚕️Dr. Mary Moore, MD, FAAD 👩🏻‍⚕️Dr. Angel Puryear, MD, FAAD www.siennadermatology.com cosmeticinfo@siennadermatology.com 📱832-342-9700 7435 HWY 6, STE B Missouri City, TX 77459

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For more information about puss caterpillars, check out this great online resource put out by the University of Florida.

Have you ever encountered one of these fuzzy caterpillars out in the wild? Let us know where and when in the comments!