ICYMI Wow Look What We Found in Ocean County, New Jersey!
ICYMI My Wife found this caterpillar in her backyard garden here in Ocean County and she described it as looking like a dog with a saddle on its back. Maybe a little like a dachshund aka "hot dog" lol but whatever it looks like, this bug packs a bite!
The caterpillar is called a "Saddleback Caterpillar" and it's obvious how it got its name, it looks like it's wearing a saddle over its back. This is not a cute caterpillar and you should definitely avoid contact with this bug!
What makes this bug an awful bug is its poisonous hairs that cover a good portion of its body. These hairs secrete a venom that has been known to make people quite ill. Yes, this little guy has knocked people down! The venom injection has been said to hurt worse than a severe bee sting. The Saddleback Caterpillar venom has been known to cause migraines, gastrointestinal symptoms, asthma complications, anaphylactic shock, rupturing of erythrocytes, and hemorrhaging. If you get stung by the hairs they should be removed from the skin as soon as possible. Avoid skin contact with this caterpillar. FYI we didn't know this caterpillar packed such a punch until later when we researched it, otherwise, we would have had gloves on.
The Saddleback Caterpillar is found mostly in eastern North America and parts of Mexico.
On the topic of "pests", the one pictured above is a hornworm and if you have a backyard garden you probably have spotted these, the hornworm is known for loving tomato plants and if you get these....they need to go before your tomatoes do. Definitely a pest for backyard gardens.
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