Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Giant Leopard Moth caterpillar

I had to go to the post office today to mail off my taxes, nothing exciting there. When I got home and got out of the truck I spotted what at first glance I thought was a bottle brush in the grass next to the driveway. On closer examination I discovered it was a HUGE black fuzzy caterpillar! It's hairs are a very dark, glossy black, and when it's curled up in a defensive posture there are bright red bands between its body segments.

Knowing that some fuzzy caterpillars can be rather unpleasant to touch due to a toxin in the hairs I picked it up with the sleeve of my jacket and carried him in the house. Into a canning jar it went, and then I started looking it up on the internet. Seems this 3" long critter is a Giant Leopard Moth caterpillar. They overwinter as caterpillars, and due to the size of this one I'm guessing it was born last year and may be getting close to pupating. I set up the critter enclosure with some willow branches and a wild violet plant as these seem to be favored foods according to the info I found online. They are very nocturnal, eating and moving around almost exclusively at night. I'll see how it does tomorrow, and if it's eating well I plan to keep it until it metamorphoses and then set it free so it can find a mate.



  1. You have no idea how lucky you are to have done your taxes on time unlike me that just sent off an extension :-(

    Either you are an animal lover or you have a lot of guts to have picked up that large caterpillar and brought it in your house and then fed it. Kudos to you!

    1. I've very familiar with filing extensions! lol Now days I have a CPA that does the taxes for me, or I'd still be fumbling with them.
      And yes, I love all sorts of creeping, crawling and slithering creatures. Except for the poisonous ones, those I leave where they belong.