These hairy caterpillars in San Antonio are cute, but don't touch

Asp caterpillars can cause burning sensation on skin

Rice University Photo

SAN ANTONIO – These hairy caterpillars might look cute, but don’t try to touch them.

Asp caterpillars are furry and fluffy looking, with different color variations.

Touching them, however, could cause a burning sensation and a rash that could be very itchy.

"They have a specialized, hairy coat that can cause a burn to mammalian skin," San Antonio zoo education manager Laurie Brown said.

Most of the time, the rash will go away in hours, or sometimes days.

“The health concerns only present itself with people who are severely allergic to arthropod venom. These people should seek medical attention,” Brown continued.

The caterpillars are prevalent in San Antonio and most of the U.S. from March through December.

The ones that can be found in the San Antonio area are usually gray, white, tan or orange.

They love oaks trees and sometimes fall to the ground when the weather cools due to falling leaves and branches.

This makes it easier for dogs or children to find them, but be wary of them.

The asp caterpillar becomes the flannel moth after metamorphosis.

About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.