We found this little guy on our wood pile a few days ago. At first we thought he was a woolly bear caterpillar that would turn into a Tiger Moth. But upon further research, we found that there are many, many kinds of tiger moths. And this one is the caterpillar to a Giant Leopard Moth. The two caterpillars are very similar. However the woolly bear has orange or red bristles on his front and back ends. Leopard moth caterpillars look solid black, but have red stripes on their bodies that can only bee seen when they roll up...usually after you have disturbed them.
Right now our little caterpillar is dining on lots of dandelion leaves and a few violet leaves and flowers. Eventually, after eating all he can, he will leave his exoskeleton behind and enter the pupa stage for a few weeks. And will finally emerge as a Giant Leopard Moth. The Hilton Pond Center has a great description of the life cycle of the Giant Leopard Moth.
After holding the guy for quite some time, we read that we probably shouldn't have. We learned you should always try to use a stick or a piece of wood to hold bristly caterpillars as some people get a rash from them. Oops! Luckily this little guy is not of the dangerous variety and is considered fairly friendly.
Last year we had several of these caterpillars and even got to watch the mama moth lay her beautiful pale green eggs. So, who knows. Maybe this is one of the babies come back to visit us. We like to think about our caterpillars and moths (and butterflies) as friends here. And really they are.
And thank you to all who played along in our Boomerang! giveaway. It is always fun finding new people who share in our love of nature. The three lucky winners of the Boomerang! free episode giveaway are:
Cristie Baron - Episode 8 Annie Oakley....My daughter is very into horses and think she would find her lots of fun!
Emily - Oh there are way too many! I must admit that much like some of the other commenters, I am a "start from the beginning" kind of gal! One of my boys, however, would love to start with the episode about robotics - #2, I think.
Brittany - I'd have to go with episide #6 because who doesn't love Dr. Seuss? And my 4 year old is obsessed with China right now.
If you all would please send an email to Dave of Boomerang! with "magnifying glass winner" in the title of the email and Dave will reply back with the download information.