This is the time of year when animals and insects are in every tree, pond and bush, but not all of them are friendly.
If you spend any time outdoors this year you should be on the lookout for dangerous bugs. It might sound like the kind of risk you only run into in the jungle, but across America there are many species of dangerous caterpillars that can seriously harm you.
The problem is the bugs that look the cutest and the cuddliest are actually the most dangerous, causing skin rashes and other painful conditions. Use this helpful guide to protect yourself and learn which ones you should avoid.
Io Moth Caterpillar - From Southern Canada to the Southern US
The Io Moth caterpillars are a little more devious than other species on this list. The green hairs on their body hide tiny black spines, which break off in your skin and make the pain even worse.
Saddleback Caterpillar - Eastern US
One look at this horned bug tells you it means business, and that should be the only hint you need to keep your distance.
The hairs on their body cause rashes and nausea, so if you brush one by accident be sure to take all the hairs off your skin right away.
Bag Shelter Caterpillar - Southern US
This is the most dangerous bug on the list, so avoid it at all cost. Not only are the hairs on their body venomous, they also stop your blood from clotting, which can cause hemorrhages and kill you!
As if that wasn't bad enough, they like to join up in big groups, so be careful not to stumble onto a bunch of them.
Click the next page for 3 more species you should avoid!
Hickory Tussock Caterpillar - Eastern North America
Like many caterpillars on this list, the Hickory Tussock species is covered in tiny spines that are meant to scare off predators. Some species are venomous or poisonous, but the Tussock is even trickier because everyone reacts differently to touching them.
The best you can hope for is an uncomfortable rash, so keep your distance and stay safe.
Puss Caterpillar - Eastern and Centreal US
Hmmm, this little guy looks familiar, but I'm not sure where I recognize him from...
He's particularly nasty, and experts say rubbing against him can feel as painful as a broken bone. It can also cause chest pain and difficulty breathing.
Brown Tailed Moth Caterpillar - Throughout Europe, but also Eastern US
Touching one of these bugs can give you a nasty rash and painful headaches. Their hairs also have little barbs inside, which makes them hard to remove.
One victim said the pain was so excruciating she wanted to rip her flesh off, so take her word for it and keep your distance.
To keep your pets safe while they're outdoors, you should also check out this list of poisonous plants.
[H/t: Sunny Sports]
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