Worm that looks like snake
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Posted in Caterpillars

Orange Dog Caterpillar (Papilio cresphontes)

A while ago, a reader requested that we identify a caterpillar that looks like a snake. As is sometimes the case with caterpillars, we struggled to identify the exact species our reader found. (There are tens of thousands of different caterpillar species, after all.) Fortunately, we received a couple of comments on this post, and one of them put forward a plausible hypothesis: the caterpillar that looks like a snake may be an Orange Dog Caterpillar, or Orangedog Caterpillar, if one has a Germanic tendency to combine words into a single compound. (One might also just refer to it by its scientific name: Papilio cresphontes.) The commenter pointed out that the Orange Dog Caterpillar actually looks more like bird poop than a snake; in fact, Organ Dog Caterpillars are often called “bird-poop caterpillars,” evidently. (Snakes are presumably offended by the competing descriptions.) In any case, we’ve compiled some information about the Orange Dog Caterpillar below, as well as included the picture of the creature that has likely now been positively identified.