DALLAS, Texas (KRON) – A 5-year-old girl in Texas was reportedly hospitalized after she was stung by what is known to be the most venomous caterpillar in the United States.
According to KXAS, the girl was playing outside her daycare when the wooly caterpillar fell from a tree above.
The young girl reportedly told daycare officials “it felt like it was stuck in her arm,” and it was later confirmed the critter was a Southern Flannel Moth Caterpillar, or asp.
Though they may look soft, the asp’s fluffy-looking “hair” actually hides small, sharp spines that “stick in your skin,” according to National Geographic.
Michael Merchant, an entomologist with Texas A&M University, told KXAS they’ve received more calls about the asps this year.
They’re still trying to figure out why.
“They’re common on a lot of trees and plants we have in North Texas… on oaks, yaupons, even rose bushes,” Merchant told KXAS.
Officials say the young girl’s bite led to pain, swelling and an upset stomach but thanks to the teachers’ quick thinking to remove the spines from her arm with tape, it could have been worse.