Encountering insects in your personal space like your car or home isn't always pleasant, and one woman's experience gives a great reminder of why you shouldn't mess with insects. When one woman on TikTok finds a hairy bug on her car, she has no idea what it is, but almost touches it.
Find out the full story of the hairy yellowish-orange hamster-like bug, and whether her TikTok followers are able to identify it. Plus, some reasons why you should refrain from touching creatures that are unfamiliar to you, even if they look fuzzy.
Here's what happens when a creator finds a mysterious hairy bug on her car.
The video that Callie, or @sOurb4by, posted to TikTok of the hairy bug is eight seconds long, but that's all that's needed to be shocked. First, someone on the video mutters an expletive that indicates they have no idea what this critter is, and the insect wriggles very slowly on the car.
Viewers don't find much about the insect (or even that it is an insect) from the video footage. However, within four days of posting, as of Sept. 1, 2023, the video has garnered over 27,000 comments. The comment section is not to be missed, ranging from the educational (sharing what they believe the bug to be) to the hilarious (some compare it to the Lorax).
One of the comments identifies the gross-yet-cute insect: "That's a moth caterpillar! Be careful though: Might be a Southern Flannel moth, which is venomous. Don't touch hairy caterpillars as a rule of thumb." Callie, the video's creator, responds to that comment: "It is a southern flannel moth! i was ab [sic] to pick it up w my fingers thank god my bf told me not to lol."
Thank goodness this TikToker doesn't try to move the caterpillar with her bare hands. "These Asps look cute but they will make you super sick if you touch it. So painful!!" warns one commenter.
What is a southern flannel moth caterpillar?
It looks like this woman encountered a southern flannel moth caterpillar, also called an asp caterpillar or puss moth caterpillar. They're part of an insect family known as "flannel moths," according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. And, as many people in the comment section pointed out, you don't want to mess with these furry creatures.
Here's why you should never touch a hairy caterpillar, especially if you know it's a southern flannel moth caterpillar. These caterpillars don't attack people, but brushing up against them or touching them with any part of your skin will sting. According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, stinging hairs can poke into your skin and break off, releasing venom into your body.
The Missouri Department of Conservation explains that southern flannel moth caterpillars grow about 1.5 inches. "They look like kitty cats, but do not touch them — their stings can be intense, to the point of requiring medical attention." Though not all furry caterpillars sting, it's best to avoid letting them touch your skin (you don't want to miss up a non-venomous with a venomous insect).
So stay away unless you're certain an insect is safe to touch.