Puss caterpillar leaves its mark on Odessa woman after outdoor workout

A woman had a painful and scary encounter with a venomous bug during an outdoor fitness class in Odessa Tuesday.

Kelly Wessels had just finished conducting an outdoor fitness training group when she encountered a puss caterpillar.

The puss caterpillar, or Megalopyge opercularis, appear fat and furry and can be found in trees and on the ground across Florida.

Their fur is covered in venom and experts at the University of Florida say you will feel the pain the second you make contact.

Wessels said she realized one touched her arm while she cleaned her things. She took a picture of the hairy-looking bug and then went home.

Provided: Kelly Wessels

But by the time she got there, two red and painful welts had formed on her arm, so she went right back out to an urgent care clinic.

The doctor gave her a treatment of steroids.

Wessels said it took hours for the stabbing pain to subside.

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Doctors say contact with a puss caterpillar can feel like the sting of a bee, jellyfish, or even a scorpion. Contact can sometimes cause vomiting and convulsions.

The puss caterpillar is the larva of the southern flannel moth, which can be found as far north as New Jersey, down Florida, and west to Arkansas and Texas.

Provided: Kelly Wessels