The Puss Caterpillar in the Lowcountry

Explore Beaufort, SC

The Puss Caterpillar | Image via Explore Beaufort, SC

Have you ever heard of the Puss Caterpillar? This caterpillar is named after a pussy cat — because it looks like a miniature kitten — and is common in the Lowcountry.

You typically find this critter on + around oak trees in Charleston because Puss Caterpillars feed on their leaves. They exist in a range of colors, from shades of grey to shades of brown, sometimes even looking rust-colored like the caterpillar in the photo above.

While comically cute, this furry critter uses its mane to hide 2 rows of toxic spines. Their stings have been described as a more intense bee sting and can even feel like a broken bone.

People are most commonly stung during September + October when the caterpillars come down to lower branches to make their cocoonstalk about spooky season.

The good news? They tend to stay up high for the rest of the year.