The Basics:

  • Does it sting? No, although the fur can be irritating to sensitive skin.

  • What does it eat? Just about anything, from oak trees to dandelions.

  • Will it seriously damage plants or trees? No.

  • Is it rare? No.

  • What does it turn into? A very pretty but seldom-seen moth.

  • Can you raise it to an adult? Not easily, since it overwinters as an adult and needs a pretty specific environment.

Banded Woolly Bear

These little guys are often seen hot-footing it across the road in rural areas of eastern North America. They belong to the family of tiger moths (Arctiidae), which includes many attractive and widespread species. Woolly bears are the larva of the Isabella tiger moth, Pyrrharctia isabella, and they feed on a number of common plants found in second-growth areas and roadsides. When you see them hustling across the road, they are looking for a good place to spend the winter; this species hibernates under rocks or logs, emerging in the spring to pupate. The moths emerge in early summer.

Pyrrharctia isabella

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