One of our readers recently wrote to us because her mom got bitten by a worm. She sent us a few photographs of the worm in the hopes that we can identify it and advise her on how to handle the situation. She wants to know if the worm is dangerous and if her mom needs to see a doctor about the bite. She also mentioned that they have a parrot, in case that has anything to do with the worm. Here is the picture of the biting worm:
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This “worm” looks pretty unremarkable. It is light gray with dark stripes running down its side. Although we don’t see any legs, but we are pretty sure it has them. We also don’t see any other notable appendages. We believe this is a caterpillar, which is another way to say that it is the larva of a moth.
Although we are confident that this is indeed a caterpillar, we don’t know what kind of caterpillar it is. With over 20,000 species of caterpillars around the world, identifying an organism on a picture alone can be nearly impossible. Also, this caterpillar is pretty plain looking, so it is harder to identify without any notable features. Now, should our reader be worried that her mom was bitten by this creature?
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We don’t think she needs to worry about her mom getting bitten by the caterpillar. In fact, we aren’t even sure that it bit her. While caterpillars can bite, it isn’t their first choice of self defense. Instead caterpillars might sting using urticating hairs, which some species of caterpillars are covered in. Coming into contact with these hairs might be painful, sort of like a bee sting, but shouldn’t cause any real damage. However, this just adds another layer to the mystery because we don’t see any of these irritating hairs on the caterpillar in the picture. So, we don’t really know if our reader’s mom was bitten or stung by this specimen. Either way, we don’t think our reader needs to worry too much. They can clean out the wound and keep an eye on it for infection. It should heal just fine. Of course if she is truly worried or scared for her mom’s health, then we recommend they visit a doctor who is licensed to give medical advice, as we are not medical professionals and cannot give medical advice.
To end, one of our readers wrote to us in distress because her mom was bitten by a caterpillar. We think she should be just fine, but encourage her to see a doctor if she is fearful for her health.