It’s time for another visit to the Department of Awesome Animals We Never Knew Existed where we’ll meet (but not touch!) a creature that looks like it’s either an exceptionally stylish Tribble or Donald Trump’s hair gone astray.
This amazing creature, and yes it really is a living thing and not a walking toupée, is a yellow-coloured caterpillar. Specifically it’s the larvel form of the wonderfully furry Flannel Moth (Megalopyge opercularis). When it grows up it’ll look like this: But you still shouldn’t touch it!
"The caterpillar’s “hair” actually consists of setae, which are long, fine silky appendages that, in this case, can cause serious skin irritations. If an unlucky person tries to grab one, they will get a handful of venom, released when the setae poke into skin. Like a bee sting, the injuries can be painful but, for most, are not life threatening.”
Wildlife photographer Jeff Cremer and conservation biologist Phil Torres spotted the caterpillar during a photography tour in an Amazon rainforest. The two men conduct rainforest expeditions from Posada Amazonas, a 30-bed rainforest lodge located in Peru.