The Puss Caterpillar in the Lowcountry

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 cocoons — talk about spooky season.

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