LAND O' LAKES (FOX 13) - One touch from a caterpillar common in Florida can send you to the hospital. A Land O' Lakes teen found out the hard way about the dangers of the southern flannel moth caterpillar, also known as the puss caterpillar or tree asp.
Logan Pergola, 15, and his mom, Andrea were clearing tree limbs from their property when Logan felt a sharp pain in his arm.
At first, he thought it was a simple scratch but less than an hour later, he was in the emergency room.
The University of Florida says it’s one of the most venomous caterpillars in the U.S.
”[I] ever expected a caterpillar to have so much of an effect,” Logan told FOX 13 News. “Pretty much the whole arm was numb but [also] felt like it was on fire."
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Andrea said, “It was really scary once we got to the hospital and they started moving so quickly because I kind of expected them to sit us in the ER and wait, and they said, 'No, they're going straight back.'"
She posted about the ordeal on Facebook. Her warning about the caterpillar has been shared more than 400,000 times.
Logan is better now. He says he is keeping an eye out for the puss caterpillars in the future.
“Definitely trying to be more careful than before and trying to be more aware,” he said.
The University of Florida says puss caterpillars like to hang out on the leaves of oak and elm trees and can be found in states from New Jersey to Florida and west to Texas and Arizona.
More information about the puss caterpillar can be found at: