Officials in Clare County, Michigan issued a warning about a tiny yet extremely dangerous creature lurking in their area. The American Dagger caterpillar has been spotted on hiking trails on Mid Michigan College’s campus, the Clare County Chamber of Commerce said.
In a Facebook post, the Chamber of Commerce warned that the caterpillars may seem cute and harmless, but they are indeed poisonous.
“DO NOT PICK THEM UP!” they wrote in all caps. “Both children and adults can be affected by them. Symptoms include the following: stinging sensation followed by a burning, itching sensation on the skin which can develop into a rash.”
The Chamber of Commerce officials also provided a link to a 2016 news report from a CBS affiliate about a child who picked up an American Dagger Caterpillar. The boy’s mother told WKBN that a slow-moving caterpillar stung her son after he picked it up and carried it around.
The bug fell on to the first-grader’s shirt, leaving little prickly hairs behind that caused a rash on his stomach. The mother took her son to the emergency room and he was prescribed an ointment, which did not immediately work. The boy eventually recovered but still had a rash and scaring bumps.
The creature is capable of severe stings. The caterpillars’ white or yellow hairs are connected to poisonous sacks and could be used to inject toxins, WKBN reported.