Stinging caterpillar filled with acid-like substance sends victims to hospital

Posted at 7:01 PM, Aug 30, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-30 19:02:40-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WTVR) -- Most caterpillars are harmless, but some of the creepy crawlies in Virginia Beach are actually sending people to the emergency room.

The Puss Caterpillar is a big, furry, brown bug that stings are so excruciating, people are being sent area emergency rooms, according to WAVY.

The Puss and Saddleback caterpillars are two poisonous caterpillars found in Hampton Roads.

"Both of them have the same reaction," said Virginia Tech Entomologist Dr. Peter Schultz. "They have these hollow spines that are filled with an acid like material. It protects them from birds -- that's the benefit to the caterpillar."

Experts said the caterpillar stings are similar to bee stings.

Some victims said they experienced everything from a burning sensation, to an increased heart rate after they were stung.