Handling Caterpillar Can Cause Rash

Londoners have reported seeing the fluffy, white Hickory Tussock Moth caterpillar this season, and while it might be tempting to touch them, the Middlesex-London Health Unit says there could be an unpleasant after-effect.

The creature feeds on trees in preparation for cocooning in the winter. It’s identified by long, black hairs that stick out from its white coat. It grows to about 4.5-cm in length. The Health Unit’s Environmental Team Manager, Iqbal Kalsi, says handing this caterpillar can result in a rash similar to poison ivy.

Kalsi says some people can have an allergic reaction which requires a trip to see a doctor. ┬áHe says the Health Unit doesn’t want to discourage anyone from discovering nature, but to be aware of the consequences.

*with files from Tom Fraser