A venomous caterpillar called the "puss caterpillar" has been spotted in areas near Tennessee and the department of forestry is very concerned. One of the world's most venomous caterpillars has been spotted frequently in South Carolina and Georgia, not from the Tennessee border.
The puss caterpillars look soft and cuddly, but they have spines across their back. Each spine is connected to a poison making gland. The spine sticks in your skin and injects it's venom, causing excruciating pain.
Nat Geo said “A puss caterpillar sting feels like a bee sting, only lots worse. The pain immediately and rapidly gets worse after being stung, and can even make your bones hurt.”
A CAES report described it like this: “When your skin brushes against the puss caterpillar, the spines break off, releasing an irritating fluid that produces an immediate stinging, burning sensation. The numbness and swelling that follow may extend to your whole arm or leg in severe cases.”
Be on the lookout if your in east Tennessee.