If You See This Cute Caterpillar…. DON’T TOUCH IT.
Sure, it looks cute. It looks fuzzy and sweet. But it has a scary name for a reason... it's the caterpillar that's going to become the AMERICAN DAGGER MOTH.
Dagger Moth sounds like a great metal band name. But anyway. Look at this thing.
It looks so cute, but every little hair on it's little fuzzy body is designed to be a protectorate to keep birds away. So if you touch it or pick it up, it's rash time. Like, a nasty rash that could last for about five days.
They tend to hang around near the type of trees you're bound to have in your neighborhood like elm, oak, willow and maple. They tend to be in the trees or branches, but they also are around on the ground NEAR the trees, which is where you're gonna have to be careful.
According to Insect Identifcation, the most common victims of the ADM are children. They see a cute thing, they pick it up, and then "experienced a burning, itching sensation on their skin which can develop into a rash". Does not sound pleasant, any way you slice it. And, apparently they're all over the state of Missouri, so you might have to be on the look out. When they grow into a moth they're relatively harmless, but as a caterpillar, that's when there's trouble.
Maybe just take a second and tell the kids, couldn't hurt to be on the safe side.