Caution: these contain a toxin which can be a skin irritant . Don’t handle them.
Joni, our border collie dog, like so many young animals has an overactive curiosity about every creature that she meets in her environment. The squirrels chattering shrilly while dancing above her on tree branches and the chipmunks, lodged silently inside drainpipes for hours patiently waiting for her to tire of the game feed her obsession, giving her hours of noisy entertainment. She will jump around snapping at bees that are buzzing among the flowers on our low bushes, so far with no ill effects to either or her the bees. (She must have a really bad aim.) She will jostle with me for elbow room when I am trying to photograph some small insect or other, edging in to get a closer look at it herself and often spoiling the photograph by making a leap for it as the shutter clicks.
The other day, however, she met this creature that moved at a more leisurely pace and didn’t seem to mind her incessant barking that alerted me to its presence. In spite of Joni, I managed to catch this photograph of it as it moved towards me. I loved its wonderful orange furry body and those great long dark tufts. It makes me think of Dougal the dog from “The Magic Roundabout”. It is an American dagger moth caterpillar.
‘Joni the Border Collie’ collection where you can read about her is here: .
More info can be found here: http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Acronicta-