“What is this?” asks this reader from LaGrange, Texas in her submission. She describes the worm as being “about two inches long and as big around as a pinky finger.” Although no further context is provided, she does include a brilliant photograph of the caterpillar, which seems to have a wrinkly, segmented, pinkish brown topside, a streaky brown underside, and a long appendage sticking out from one of its ends.
Based on this photo, we think this is a caterpillar of some kind. There are two different caterpillar species in particular that this one resembles, both of which are different types of moth caterpillars. The first one is the white-blotched heterocampa, whose larvae vary in color throughout their life cycle. For that reason, they can easily be confused for other species at the various stages of their lifespan. Their preferred diet is oak leaves, but it should be noted that they are not considered pests, meaning they do not defoliate the trees to an extent that would prove harmful to them. These caterpillars are harmless to humans and pets and should not be feared.
The second caterpillar we considered was the tobacco hornworm moth caterpillar. This critter is usually green, though it has been noted that it does take on a brownish pink color at some stage in its lifespan. It is likely that the caterpillar our reader found is a hornworm, considering that this caterpillar gets its name from the horn-like appendage that sticks out from one end of its body, which the creature our reader found possesses. These creatures are considered pests in the garden and on farms, given that they can cut down cultures of tobacco, tomato and potato plants at an incredibly efficient rate, and are thus considered dangerous from a financial point of view. That said, they are also not dangerous to human or pet health, so our reader need not worry about that.
Now, in the case that it was found indoors, we think that the discovery of this caterpillar is an isolated incident. They would have no reason to infest a home, so it probably just wandered in. We recommend that she scoop the caterpillar onto a dustpan and take it outside. Of course, if our reader has a garden, or just a yard with a tree, then she might want to check her plants for more of the caterpillars, as an infestation could be occurring outside.
To conclude, the pink, worm-like creature our reader found is definitely some type of caterpillar, and we think it is either a white-blotched heterocampa moth caterpillar, or a tobacco hornworm moth caterpillar. In any case, our reader needs not worry about her safety. We hope this article proves helpful and we wish her the very best!
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