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The Basics:

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

  • What does it eat? Mostly low plants and "weeds."

  • Will it seriously damage plants or trees? No.

  • Is it rare? No.

  • What does it turn into? A very pretty white moth.

  • Can you raise it to an adult? Yes.

Yellow Woolly Bear

This is one of the most commonly encountered of all North American caterpillars. They eat a wide variety of common plants, many of them considered weeds, and they make no real effort to hide -- you can often find them on the top of a leaf in the middle of the day, happily eating. They are typically pale yellow or orange, but some individuals are much darker. The fur is thick but not spiny, and they are very "firendly" -- they don't seem to mind being handled and will harmlessly crawl over your hands (some people with super-sensitive skin may have a mild reaction to the fur). The adult is a beautiful white moth that you may find in the summer around your porch lights.

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Spilosoma virginica

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