Readers identify Tarring woman’s ‘unusual caterpillar’

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Yesterday (Wednesday), a 66-year-old stumbled upon a strange ‘spiky yellow and black caterpillar’ while hanging her washing in the garden.

Jennifer Hawkins, who lives near Tarring, said: “I thought he looked defensive especially with that spike at the back. So much comes from abroad these days that aren’t native to this country.”

Jennifer Hawkins of Tarring finds caterpillar SUS-150924-095928001

Jennifer Hawkins of Tarring finds caterpillar SUS-150924-095928001

Mrs Hawkins kept the caterpillar in a box with holes for a short while, hoping to find more information about it, but to no avail.

“It’s very bobbly on top and so bright and colourful. I just thought it was so unusual,” she said.

An appeal was made to Herald readers to try and identify the ‘caterpillar’ and you did not disappoint.

Ryan Edey said: “I have just been reading online about the strange caterpillar Mrs Hawkins found in her garden the other day. That is a Pale Tussock Moth Caterpillar.”

Rory O’Brien of Northcourt Road said: “It is native to the UK. The spikes are very itchy but not deadly.”

Colin Corkery said: “Although this looks like an exotic caterpillar, it is a Pale Tussock moth caterpillar usually found in England and Wales.”

Mrs Hawkins is an avid gardener and in all her years of tending to her plants and vegetables, she has not come across a caterpillar like this.

“You’ve got to identify things before you touch them. They could be good for the garden or dangerous for the garden,” she said.

The caterpillar has since been returned to the garden and disappeared into the vegetation.

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