While we have our share of weird-ass species down here in Florida -- lion fish, huge burmese pythons, super snakes, giant african snails, something called crazy ants -- none seem to be more hazardous than a specific type of caterpillar Florida scientists are now warning us about.
It's called the puss caterpillar and they are insanely nasty. They also happen to be the most poisonous caterpillars in the United States. And, of course, they're apparently all over Florida.
What makes them especially diabolical -- aside from the fiery torturous pain they inflict -- is that they look adorably harmless. Like little fuzzy Tribbles who are begging to be pet.
Awwww hey there little fella you're just like a precious tiny kitty aren't you? C'mere and lemme pet youuuuUUUAHHHHHHHHH!!!!
See also: Florida Is Being Invaded By Giant Snails
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are warning Floridians to steer clear of these little monsters because they're crazy dangerous.
Basically, all that cute looking fur is saturated in a powerful venom that some say leaves a sting far worse than that of bee, or even jelly fish. Once some poor unfortunate soul decides to pet one, the fur -- which is actually venomous spines -- break off the caterpillar and pierce the skin, causing severe fire-like pain.
Some common reactions to the venom include itching, and burning followed by convulsions and vomiting. Delightful!
And, of course, if you happen to get tagged by one of these things, you need to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
The CDC recommends a few home remedies as well, such as placing Scotch tape over the affected area and pulling it off repeatedly until the puss caterpillar spines are removed from the skin. Once that's done, apply a paste of baking soda and water. You can then apply a pack of ice to reduce the pain and swelling.
According to doctors at the University of Florida, puss caterpillars -- which are native to the Southeast -- are most often found on oaks and citrus.
And here's the most terrifying part: There have been reports of some of these things simply falling from trees.
Parents are also asked to talk to their kids about these things. You don't want little Johnny seeing one in the park and thinking he found himself an adorable new pet.
The main reason for the warnings now is that people heading to the ER after coming in contact with puss caterpillars have been on the rise lately.
University of Florida doctors are saying that people should be diligent when venturing outside. Look around when working or playing outdoors. Also, try to steer clear of trees, we guess.
Once the puss caterpillar reaches maturity, it turns into what is known as the feathered flannel moth, and is no longer a threat.
OR SO THEY WANT US TO BELIEVE.
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