Tribbles, from the original Star Trek series, were cute, harmless little balls of fluff that couldn’t hurt a soul. They reproduced too much, of course, but even that ended up saving the lives of the crew of the Enterprise. Furry puss caterpillars on the other hand, which look a lot like real-life versions of tribbles, are most definitely not harmless. In fact, if a store full of these little buggers fell on your noggin, your whole upper body would be in searing pain for more than 12 hours.
Furry puss caterpillars, or Megalopyge opercularis, are indigenous to the Southern and Eastern U.S., as well as Mexico and Central America, and inflict enormous pain on their victims by injecting venom into their systems via spines hidden in the setae (bristly hair) along their backs. According to the wiki for the little dangerous wigglers, “Exposure to the caterpillar’s fur-like spines will lead to an immediate skin irritation [characterized] by a, ‘grid-like hemorrhagic papular eruption with severe radiating pain.'” The pain has also been described as feeling similar to a broken bone or blunt force trauma.
Video showing metamorphosis from venomous furry puss caterpillar into totally harmless flannel moth.
Pain you can literally feel in your bones. But again, so cute, right?
While the furry puss caterpillars likely earned their moniker “puss” because they look like Persian cats, several outlets, including National Geographic, have noted how similar one of these looks to President Donald Trump’s hair. Incidentally, these little guys also like to fling their own poop.
What do you think about these little venomous fluff balls? Do you think they look more like tribble doppelgängers, Persian cats, or Donald Trump’s hair? Give us your thoughts in the comments below!
Images: Facebook/The Caterpillar Lab