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Black Fuzzy Caterpillar

Updated on June 9, 2016
Caterpillars curl up when they feel threatened, or, in this case, curl around twigs and sticks.
Caterpillars curl up when they feel threatened, or, in this case, curl around twigs and sticks. | Source

Black Caterpillar with Spikes and Red Bands: What is it?

Did you find a black fuzzy caterpillar? Does it look like this? If so, you might have a giant leopard moth caterpillar, also known as a great leopard moth or an eyed tiger moth (scientific name: Hypercompe scribonia). Take a look at the other pictures too, and you'll know for sure.

Caterpillar Description: The giant leopard moth caterpillar has with spikes (which are variously described as hairy, bristled, fuzzy, spiky, furry, or woolly) with red or orange bands around its body. Some think it looks like a woolly black bear.

What Will It Turn Into?

Moth Description: Your spiky black-and-red caterpillar will transform into a white moth with black circles or spots on tis wings. Its abdomen will be blue and orange (not visible at rest).

We saw our first giant leopard moth caterpillar five years ago and are now in the process of raising our fourth moth. I'm sharing the information we've documented and collected through personal experience and research here.

This awesome photo is CC on Flickr by OakleyOriginals.

Have You Found One of These?

Black caterpillar with spikes and red bands or stripes. These caterpillars can be up to three inches long.
Black caterpillar with spikes and red bands or stripes. These caterpillars can be up to three inches long.

In this picture, you are seeing the rear end of the caterpillar.

Most Commonly Asked Questions About Great Leopard Moth Caterpillars

  • Is this black fuzzy caterpillar poisonous? No.
  • Can you touch it or handle it? Yes, you can handle it carefully.
  • Will it sting you? No.

But keep reading and confirm the ID, because some bristly caterpillars can sting!


Before the Leopard Moth Caterpillar Looks Like That, It Looks Like This

A baby black-and-orange caterpillar.
A baby black-and-orange caterpillar.

Most people find these caterpillars when they are large and solid black with red bands around their bodies, but they didn't always look like that. Before they molt, while they are still small caterpillars, they are brown (or black) and red (or orange), and the bands aren't very noticeable. This is one of the first leopard moth caterpillars we found. We named it PeeWee—in this picture, it's about 3/4 inches long—but it didn't stay a peewee! They can grow bigger because they molt (see next section).


Is This the Type of Caterpillar You Found?

Is this the same caterpillar you've found?

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This white moth with black spots gets its name from its leopard-like markings.
This white moth with black spots gets its name from its leopard-like markings. | Source

Here's What That Caterpillar Turns Into: The Great Leopard Moth

Pretty amazing, huh? That's exactly what I thought. You may have never seen this moth (who could forget seeing this creature?) because they are nocturnal. The first time I saw one in person was after our first caterpillar went through metamorphosis. I've never seen one out in the yard just walking around. They must be good hiders during the day.

This awesome photo is CC on Flickr by Normanack.

The Molting Process: Here's a Molted Exoskeleton

The molted exoskeleton, a black, spikey outer shell.
The molted exoskeleton, a black, spikey outer shell.

How many times do they molt? I'm not exactly sure. I've seen at least two molts per caterpillar, but I think they may molt three or four times. I hope to one day have a concrete number to post here. The time between molts is called an instar for butterfly caterpillars, and I think it's the same name for moth caterpillars, but I'm still confirming that.

I remember the first time our Great Leopard Moth caterpillar molted. I was horrified! When I checked on it that morning, part of the caterpillar was on the branch and part was in the bottom of the large container. What happened? Did it break in half? That's what I thought for a split second. Then I realized that the piece in the bottom of the container was simply the molted outer skin and the part on the branch was the actual live and well caterpillar. It's very important to note here that before they molt, they will be very still for anywhere between one and two days. They are OK! This is simply part of the molting process. As a matter of fact, our current caterpillar is about to molt as I type and hasn't moved since yesterday. He's fine! I can't wait to see the shedded "skin." This picture is of a molted exoskeleton I found in a tree beside our house.

How Big Do They Get? About Three Inches Long

A full-grown bristly black caterpillar is about three inches long.
A full-grown bristly black caterpillar is about three inches long.

As far as caterpillars go, these get pretty big. They look even larger with those big bristly spikes. Here's Oscar. He grew to a length of about three inches, then shrunk a little before pupating.

Description

The Giant Leopard Moth caterpillar has spikes (which are variously described as hairy, bristled, fuzzy, spiky, furry, or woolly) with red or orange bands around its body. Some think it looks like a woolly black bear.

Great leopard moth cocoon
Great leopard moth cocoon

How Long Does a Leopard Moth Stay in Its Cocoon?

When the time is right (only the caterpillar will know), it will start to build a web-like structure and make its cocoon. Sorry for the quality of this photo; I was shooting the picture through the clear container. In the cocoon, the caterpillars will make the miraculous change and eventually emerge as beautiful moths. They will be white with black spots and a bit iridescent.

We have documented that the Giant Leopard Moth will be in the cocoon for 23 days. I haven't seen this documented anywhere else on the web. However, I know temperature can affect this, and in cooler climates it may take longer than 23 days. Our records were taken during the heat of summer (June) in Florida.

How to Raise These Caterpillars: It Could Take Two Months or More!

If you have found a giant leopard moth caterpillar and want to see it change into a moth, you can. But there are some things you need to know to be sure the caterpillar gets what it needs to grow and then go through metamorphosis.

  1. First, you need to know what to feed your caterpillar—its diet. Caterpillars are ravenous! This is the most important thing: You need to know which plant it was on when you removed it. If it was on a plant, then that is the plant it was feeding on and that's what you need to provide for its diet. If the great leopard moth caterpillar was not on a plant, then you'll need to offer it a variety of plants to see what it will eat. There's a lot to say about this. Thankfully, unlike other caterpillars, the GLM will eat a variety of plants. I've had success with oak saplings, dandelion leaves, morning glory leaves and plants I don't even know the names of. Try different things until you see it munching down. If it won't eat, then it may be about to molt or even build its cocoon.
  2. Provide a large clear container with ventilation or a mesh container (see a good option below). We actually built a wooden framed box with mesh walls so it is almost like the caterpillar is in the open as it would naturally be. See options below for caterpillar habitats.
  3. Add a variety of sticks to the habitat so there's plenty for the caterpillar to crawl around on and make sure some of them stand up vertically. You need to add food along with these plants and sticks.
  4. Keep a fresh food supply available.
  5. Clean the cage regularly. All animals poop. Caterpillar poop is called frass and would usually fall to the ground away from the caterpillar. Since he's in a cage, you'll need to dump the container every couple of days. Simply pull out the sticks, food plants and caterpillar, dump the container and put everything back in. But if it's already started making the web structure or cocoon process, do not move anything at all.

Here's a photo I took of our latest caterpillar. Isn't it cute? It's so neat how its legs cling to the thin plant stem.
Here's a photo I took of our latest caterpillar. Isn't it cute? It's so neat how its legs cling to the thin plant stem.

Amazing Little Critter

These are really neat creatures. Their appearance is unusual, but fairly easy to ID online. They will curl up into a ball when feeling threatened, exposing those red bands. They don't bite or sting, and kids love them. I've noticed, on occasion, they will be motionless for a concerning amount of time, then take off again as usual. Sometimes this means they are molting, but not always. Maybe they are resting? Or sleeping? Or this might be a way to protect themselves from being detected by predators. Here's a photo I took of our latest caterpillar. Isn't it cute? It's so neat how its legs cling to the thin plant stem.

Have You Seen or Raised a Giant Leopard Moth Caterpillar?

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      Christine (Tina) Dalecki RN 3 months ago

      Very numerous on our farm in Texas

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      Patti Murphy 4 months ago

      I just found one in my barn in Sweden, Maine... I've never seen one before.

      Are they common in Maine?

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      David Foxx 4 months ago

      Found one in leaf litter at base of fence during clean up. Muskegon County Michigan. Western Lakeshore

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      Wayne Wells 5 months ago

      Good job with lots of good information. Just found one and decided to keep him/her around until transformation. We live in rural NY and plants are just beginning to grow. Hope it makes it.

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      Abigail Bass 5 months ago

      Thank you very much for this post it was very educational. I couldn't find this detailed information anywhere else. I am now rasing quiet a few of my own. I found they really like Holly Hawks. Good luck and keep writing!

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      Krysanthium 7 months ago

      Hey there,

      I think I found one of these in Nebraska! I am going to try to get him to change. I am guessing he is a little younger because I don't see any stripes yet but it is the closest I have seen on the web. I am going to try to keep him alive and keep you posted.

      Thanks for the page!

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      Chantal Gall 17 months ago

      Our garden and our houses are being invaded by these caterpillars

      My first question is WHY?

      Is it due to temperature or their predators disappearing?

      We live at berowra Waters on the hawkesbury river and there is an invasion. We don't want to kill them, but we don't like them in our houses.

      please help us to get rid of them without harming them.

      Chantal herlihy

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      josie 20 months ago

      I have these little guy running around my garden eating all my plants. I have a bad habit of walking around with no shoes i get so scared when they cross my path I feel like if I step on one of them they are going to sting me

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      Vivienne 21 months ago

      I picked one up just then and after crawling around my hand for a bit it stopped and started to try to munch on my arm. The place it munched me is now pink and itchy. :(

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      luv-Heather 22 months ago

      Hello! It's around 10 P.M. I went outside to throw the trash in the can, and as I was walking back to the carport door, I saw a fully black woolly worm! I love these little guys! So, I picked him up and called for my 11 yr old daughter to check him out. When I laid him down, I noticed something strange. The little guy would ball up, sprawl back out moving in weird directions, and continue this all on his back. I tried flipping him face-down, but he just rolled back onto his back. I read the article and even the comments, but found nothing (except for the lady who said flies killed hers...so sad). Maybe that's what's wrong with this little guy..? I put him back outside, unsure of what to do. Plz enlighten me! Thanx so much! BTW, beautiful pics!

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      Chris 23 months ago

      I just found one curled up in my backyard in Alexandria, VA. It was eating all my plants.

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      Alyssa 23 months ago

      I've currently got three in a critter terrarium. I'm 99% sure i have a GLM, but that fuzzy can be prickly, not painful, just prickly, like lightly holding a handful of tacks

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      Katie 2 years ago

      I have been wondering what it was for days. I found it as i was leaving work. It was crawling on the ground not on grass. I have been trying all kinds of plants for it to eat. It has molted once since i have gottwn it. Thats good its not doesnt sting or anything,my kids keep wantung to touch it. There beautiful i cant wait till it turns into one. I figured it was nocturnel isnwas moving around the other night.

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      Bill 2 years ago

      my dog found it, she smelled it under a deck post. We got it out, didn't know what it was and then put it back.

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      midge 2 years ago

      Thank you easy to get info I have seen these on my screens usually when we have a lot of winter moths but didn't see a catapillar until a few days ago. I didn't raise it I saw it just mosying along out back. I have a pic of one I have never identified . It got in the house one night I thought it was a small bird. Is there a way I can upload it for you?

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      smash591 3 years ago

      Tonight my daughters found a GLM crawling across the pool deck. We picked him up with a dustpan and hit the internet to find out what it was and if its dangerous. Now the girls are fighting over who will touch it first. LOL

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      kodiyak 3 years ago

      yesterday a giant leopard moth caterpillar inch right up on me while i was on the porch and tried to enter my home so i made him a habitat. i can't wait to see this 'giant' moth

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      mommahoss 3 years ago

      I found two wooley boogers on the ground yesterday afternoon. It's February. I thought it was a little early for these guys.

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      Dawn 3 years ago from Maryland, USA

      What a very, very cool lens. I just realized, last weekend, that these catepillars are different than the ones with the red band that supposedly predict winter. So cool to see a lens right after I spent time with one of these wolly bears!

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      CrazyHomemaker 3 years ago

      I've seen the caterpillars but I've never seen the moth. I definitely wouldn't forget it if I did!!! Really nice lens. Thanks.

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      Fay Favored 3 years ago from USA

      I can't say that I have, but you made it interesting. This would be a great science lesson for the classroom.

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      margo-seiple 3 years ago

      Great info & pix! We're in Northeastern NC & we found one clinging to the side of a brick wall in our carport, surrounded by brick & concrete, not a plant in sight! So we gathered up a variety of leaves from the many plants & bushes in our yards & he's been doing fine, looking forward to seeing his transformation

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I live in Arizona - the Phoenix area. I have a home in the mountains at 6800 ft elevation. The bristly black caterpillars are abundant there this time of year. I decided to bring a few back to the school where I work as a preschool teacher. The kids are so very excited to raise "Harry, Prickles, and Spike". I found all the information here on your sight very helpful. Thank you.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thanks to your website I was able to ID the caterpillar that is devouring my Amaryllis as the Giant Leopard Moth. Plant and caterpillar have been on my kitchen counter for a week and as the caterpillar is HUGE I expect it to pupate soon. Very exciting!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Emily W

      I just found a caterpillar that's really spikey and I named it Scruffy and

      I want to raise it .

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I recently came across several of these critters, ive seen them all my life growing up in central texas. My grandmother always told me they were little stingers that cover the worm so I never paid much mind to them.About a month ago I started catching them by hand and built a habitat for them to live in so my stepdaughter could have something neat to do this summer, we started with ten of them, and each one has a drop of fingernail polish in different colors of course to identify them and each one has been named. Atbthe moment I have 6 left. We left our habitat outbside one day and it became over run with flys. I didn't pay any attention to it just opened the lid and let them out but within a few hours several of our worms began acting strange crawling around and writhing all of the container like they were in severe agony. The first one died I threw it out, then our largest worm pinky began to lie still, and excreted a mess of frass and strange liquid. At one point the entire intestine was hanging out of its butthole, by the next morning the worm was an empty tube of an exoskeleton. I picked it up on to notice a maggot crawl out of the butt. Ive lost 3 woems like this, so be sure to make your habitat other insect proof by putting screen over the airholes. Its kinda sad to see these little guys suffer like that and not really knowing what to do or how to keep them from suffering. I guess I could have just smashed them but it was heartbreaking enough to see how upset my little girl was , she has become very attached to them. I would like to share photos with anyone interested or if anyone has any more information about caring for these woolly boogers please feel free to email me @ ponyboy_351w@yahoo.com thanks Mike

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: I have a picture but no option to share it

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I found this group on my oak tree in Virginia. They are all black no spots of any other color. Not fuzzy but have spikes with fine hairs. I never seen these before and can not match them on line. I found the black peacock butterfly catapillar but that is in Europe.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Our caterpillar has barely moved for 4 days! We thought he was molting and left him alone but he hasn't eaten and barely moved in 4 days. What's going on?! (Yes, he is still alive).

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      My grandson has a Leopard Moth Caterpillar...he is & and loves Mr. Fuzzy Butt

    • bbsoulful2 profile image

      bbsoulful2 4 years ago

      When my older two boys were little, we always had an assortment of bug houses on the porch, and we raised luna moths from caterpillars every year -- the cocoons have to overwinter in the refrigerator, and then the moth doesn't even emerge until July!

      Congrats (belatedly) on LotD. Blessed by a Giant Squid!

      PS - We found this lens because we just collected a "black fuzzy caterpillar," and we were looking it up!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      When I was younger,I lived near the downtown district and these were quite commons(South Texas BTW). Primarily on trees.Myth was that they sting you.Thanks for clearing that up btw.Only ones that did sting were these small ones(about an inch I believe).Bright fuzzy yellow caterpillars,no visible bands.They would fall of the tree leaves and leave a burning sting.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I see these moths and caterpillars in my back yard all the time :) I wanna pet the fuz balls... Can I?

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Hi, My husband found (lil jimmy) leopard moth caterpillar...at his work he is correctional officer..out in the rec yard.. he walked around with him on his shirt.. some of the imates were freaked out by it.. my husband just laugh at them hard life crimals scared of lil jimmy.. that is his name..he brought him home.. I was like omg.. I looked up site about caterpillars.. and came across your site.. so much info thank you for that.. my lil jimmy did to so well he did molt... never went into a cocoon, its been cold.. thinking that caterpillars went into hiberantion ,, I think he died..I put him out on my flower box... outside.. its amazed me how much I got attached to him.. made me cry... I hope someday if we ever come across another we will do better..I just love watching him.. he like to climb on us...around our necks...well I thought I would say thank you for having this site so we can learn :)

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      We found one 2 days ago. It was curled up under leaves on the ground. We temporarily have him in a jar and are working on a new habitat. Luckily, we found what he likes to eat. He's climbing around pretty well. Gonna keep him to watch the change. Can't wait to see the beautiful Giant Leopard Moth he turns into.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      She was on a log so today I went and collected lots of different stuff :) thanks so much this is really cool

    • puzzlerpaige profile image
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      puzzlerpaige 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Hi. When they are in the cocoon, they don't need any mist. The best clue for food is the plant it was on when you found it. Other than that, yes try different things. I don't have any experience with rose flowers or leaves etc. Good luck with everything!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Wow this is really cool I found one of these yesterday my buddy sent me a link to your site :) I have mine in a jar but after reading all the comments Im going to try to make him a nice habitat :) I read someone say they gave it rose flowers to eat did they like it I put some palm leaves I think she liked those I will check more closely today so when they cacoon do you still mist water in the cage or just leave them alone the whole time? Thanks for this site its very helpful :)

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      May Matthew 4 years ago

      So beautiful and informative. Thank you from a fellow insect lover!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Hi! I've learned SO much from your site, thank you! I found one of these caterpillars a few days ago in my garage in San Antonio, Tx. We set up a habitat indoors to observe with my little girl & it was thriving. Now the weather changed & it's finally winter here! We added lots of old leaves to the habitat for it to overwinter in & it's back in the garage to keep real cool. I'm trying to keep things as natural as possible. My question what to look for next? It's buried deep in the leaves & we can't see it anymore - how do we care for it now & for how long? Do we continue to provide food if its hibernating? Thanks in advance, we're fascinated with this little dude!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Hi there, we found one yesterday at the park. I then found this site :-). We went back today and it's still there, it have kinda buried itself under grass on the ground. Up here in VA we now have below freezing temp. Will sleep throu winter ? Can we put it in a container and watch it turn into a moth ?

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I found one by my front door and put it in a clear plastic container with holes for air,,it built a cacoon and is now a white with black spots moth. I don't know wht to feed it now that it is a moth,,a fed it roses and leaves from my bushes out front..and how long does it live as a moth,,and do I give it water?

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I just read your excellent article on planting milkweed from seed. I just took some seeds off of my milkweed I bought and planted a month ago, so thank you!

      They are seeding now in central Texas, so that's obviously when nature "plants" them, and I did put some in the ground, hoping for luck. But now I'm eager to try to raise the next batch of seeds by hand.

      Thank you for the warning about looking for organically raised plants. I had bought the first milkweed plants I've ever been able to find in a nursery, and it never dawned on me to ask if they were pesticide-free. I did notice some large caterpillars on them, and they disappeared right after I noticed them. I didn't know if they got eaten or made a chrysalis. I found no evidence of that or of dead caterpillars.

      So sorry about your disaster with your storebought plants, that's so heartbreaking, when you've watched those little miracles grow from eggs.

      Does anybody have experience with storebought milkweed plants, status unknown? If we wash the leaves and stems off with Dr. Bronners or some other organic soap, is it possible to get the poison off, does anybody know?

      Thanks for making this forum possible! It is so fun to learn and share with other butterfly lovers!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @puzzlerpaige: Puzzlemaker, this is such a wonderful site, especially the question and answer page! I'm an ex-teacher, now working in a park near Fredericksburg, TX, and find myself looking up so many things I'm seeing in nature, that I want to share with children. We are seeing these caterpillars by the score this week, and I'm so happy to know what lovely moths I'll be seeing soon! Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Valerie, it's wonderful that you are interested in moths and caterpillars. Yes, outside is always best, when you find a caterpillar. I put mine under a shelter like on a porch to protect them a bit from the weather, since they are in a cage.

      If you find a caterpillar eating a plant, then those are the leaves you feed her with. I know that most butterflies lay their eggs only on their own special plant, and that's all the caterpillars will eat when they hatch out. Moths may not be quite so particular, we'll have to see.

      If you find one in the street, like you did, you'll have to experiment with the plants mentioned on the website and see what she will eat.

      By the way, a cage out of netting (like for dance skirts) makes a good cage they can't get out of....You can cover the lid of a wide jar or box with it, and keep it tight with a big rubber band, so she can get air. I put a coffee filter in the bottom...That makes it easy to clean out her frass and the old branches. We use a paint brush to gently pick up the caterpillars so we can clean house.

      If she has made her cocoon, let her sit undisturbed until she hatches out. As soon as she hatches out, and her wings dry out, you need to let her climb up a stick to get out, or fly out if she can, so she doesn't hurt her wings trying to fly out of the cage...and she will lay some eggs on her favorite plant! Then when new caterpillars hatch out, you can begin again. Good luck!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Hi, I am currently raising a Giant Leopard Moth Caterpillar and yes Dana it does drink water. I usually use a clean misting bottle. A couple squirts usually does the trick. I have let it drink from the palm of my clean hand, about 6 to 8 drops and it seems to have had enough.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Can you put multiples of these caterpillars in one big cage? I have about 10 and do they need any water at all??

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Can you put multiples of these caterpillars in one big cage? I have about 10 and do they need any water at all??

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Hi im 11 and my mom just found one on the street and we put it in a jar. Then we found this site. We live in San Diego California and it's hot out but my house is cold. I now keep Moldy in a pet career with a lot of greens. Should I put him outside? He is only 1inch and when he's a moth will he give me any eggs? Should I let him go? Plez respond I need the awnsere! Thx!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      there are hundreds on our farm. cute little guys who love it when you stroke their backs

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Just found one today!!!!! And my kids are loving him like a pet! We are keeping him outside in a big plastic ventillated bowl along with grass since we found him eating grass and leaves with sticks. We are in central Texas so the weather changes often! Thank you for the website and information on these creatures!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      What do you feed them when the leaves turn?

    • puzzlerpaige profile image
      Author

      puzzlerpaige 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Hi Sam,

      Although it is tempting to bring the little guy inside, personally, I would leave him out in the garage (same temp as outside). Just make sure his tank is a good replica of his natural habitat in your area. In other words, dirt in the bottom, then leaves and sticks etc. so he can do what he would naturally do. Remember, we want to enjoy watching the natural process without altering it. This can take lots of patience! Don't worry about him. When he gets cold enough, his body will slow down etc. naturally. I hope everything goes well!

      You are a budding entomologist! I encourage you to keep up the good work and continue studying moths, butterflies and other insects.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I'm 12 and found a Great Leopard Caterpillar on September 2nd. I have been keeping him in a tank in my garage, but it is getting really cold out, much colder than it should be for November. In fact, it is snowing outside (i live on Long Island, New York) as i type this. I'm worried it is too cold for him, but my house has the heat on and i worry it will be unnatural for him. Should I keep him in my garage or move him in my house? Please respond ASAP, since i want the best for him. Thanks!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I found one of these at my job, on one of those parking things. He was crawling around, loking at everything. I found some leaves and he seemed to like them. But I'm confused. Instead of little orange stripes he has dark orange polka dots on him. Does that mean that my little Resees Cup is sick? Please let me know.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: outside is where he would naturally be and survive so he shouldn't have any problems coping with it. :)

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      do caterpillars drink water? or will he get it from the leaves?

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I am in WI and found 1 in my window well last week,I never seen 1 like this before,so big and fuzzy,I think he fell into the well twice,the 2nd time I put him in a bucket with grass and a variety of leaves and sticks,I do not know how common they r around here,he does not seem to be moving much,I want to put him back out in the environment but I feel it might be too cold,any advice?

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      WinWriter 4 years ago

      What an interesting topic. We saw one of these little guys yesterday while walking in our side yard. It was crawling along in the grass. A little alarming-looking at first. I'm so glad to have found your lens. *Blessed *

    • puzzlerpaige profile image
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      puzzlerpaige 4 years ago

      @anonymous: We are homeschoolers too :). I hope it all goes well. Please report back with any successes and/or issues. All info helps!

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      puzzlerpaige 4 years ago

      @anonymous: You are asking all of the right questions. I've never overwintered one here in Florida, but everything I read says pretty much the same thing...exactly what you have stated. Don't mess with nature - let the caterpillar do what he would normally do.

      I'd say yes to the porch if you have some way of making a dirt bottom with lots of leaves. I wouldn't make it warmer.

      I'd also offer some food, but since you found him in the driveway there's no way to know what he was eating. Do some research and offer him as many food options as you can in case he still needs food.

      Please let us know what happens this coming spring, or whenever you see him active again. If you are successful with this, I'd like to add your specific procedure here to help others who want to do the same.

      Thank you!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      (10.29.2012) We are in PA, and today it is cold (42 degrees), and extremely windy & rainy. (hurricane sandy rain...) We found "Bear" (that's what my daughters named him because he's so bulky!) in our driveway, soaking wet. We brought him in and put him in a mesh butterfly house we had. I know we can't allow him to not hibernate and to change into a moth at this point because we're heading into winter, so what should we do? I've read that you say to put him outside to allow him to follow the temperature changes. So should I just put the butterfly mesh house outside on our porch? What do I need to put in it? Jt sticks, leaves or do I need to make it warmer?

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I just found one in my yard today and thought my son would love it! I have to say its the largest catapillar I've ever seen. I wanted to make sure it wasn't poisonous before letting him handle it and came across your site. We live in central Kentucky and its starting to get chilly, so I hope everything goes well with it. My son has named him Alexander (his middle name lol). We homeschool and are using this as a learning experience. I'm so excited for him to be able to see this moth! We're going to keep pictures of the process! Thanks for the wonderful information!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I found one of these caterpillars outside eating some grass last night near my sidewalk, he's huge probably about 3 1/2" long, it was so cute I grabbed my kids bug catcher bucket and put it in front of him and he went crawling right in! Lol I'm in baltimore, md and the nights are gettingchilly, I read about keeping him outside and about hibernating, but what if I keep him indoors and he does change early, could I just keep him inside til spring? How long is their lifespan after becoming a moth?also then I'm wondering if I do that and its dead of winter there will be no flowers! So if I put him outside then around what temperature is toooo coldto survive? Although in the wild he would be out in the elements...sorry for the hundred questions, just trying to be the best mommy I can :) I btw have never seen this moth before either. Very beautiful! I'm excited thanks!! -Jamie

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I found a few here in Worcester County in Mass. Will they make it through the winter, have never seen this type of moth, or caterpillar before..

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I just found one today outside in my back yard. It's about 5:30pm. I came straight inside to check to see about it either being poisonous or stinging and your site here was the first I chose to look at. Amazing creatures! Thanks for all of the information. I wish I had something to keep it in so my daughter (3 years old) and I could watch it change into a moth. What a beautiful moth it becomes! Thanks again.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      We found one yesterday in Central Massachusetts in the mulch on the side of our house. So cool!! We have it in a butterfly habitat with a variety of leaves. Looking forward to seeing the process!

    • puzzlerpaige profile image
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      puzzlerpaige 4 years ago

      @anonymous: I am so sorry for the late reply. Yes, you are right. If you keep him indoors he probably will not overwinter. It is best to keep him outdoors (out of the sun) so he will do what his inner clock/thermostat tell him to do. The concern is that if he changes, and is released into the freezing temps, he may die. I hope all is going well with it.

    • puzzlerpaige profile image
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      puzzlerpaige 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Christine,

      Depending on where you live, your caterpillar *may* overwinter (hibernate) to survive the freezing temps of winter. Where I live (warm sunny Florida) the temperatures do not get extreme so we can raise these amazing little critters and release them most times of the year. The temperature where you are is the key.

    • puzzlerpaige profile image
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      puzzlerpaige 4 years ago

      @anonymous: I'd say the most important thing is for the caterpillar to experience the normal temperatures/changing of the seasons for your area. This means leaving him outdoors during the process. But NOT in the sun. If you want to watch him change, you may have to wait until spring. He *may* overwinter where you are.

      A concern with keeping it inside (when it gets cold outside) is that this may cause it to change into a moth before the time is right. If it changes into a moth, and is then released into freezing temps, it will die.

      If you are willing to wait it out (and it *is* worth the effort!) Make sure it has plenty of food, sticks, dirt, leaves in its container. Its food is most likely the plant you found it on. Keep check on it and it will do what is normal and natural for the temperature. Good luck with your little critter!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      We found one tonight in Western Massachusetts crawling up the siding of a house toward a light. Excited to watch the process. Please offer advice...will follow as much as we can from the article.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: I found a large one of these today 10/14/12.. I have him in a jar with plenty of air holes and some grass and leaves and sticks for him to climb onto. I have named mine Charley... I am anxious for him to start building his wed and to transform to that beautiful moth... Can not wait to watch this.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I think I saw one today, here in West Virginia. I haven't seen that type of moth though.

    • puzzlerpaige profile image
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      puzzlerpaige 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Please let us know how many days it takes. And let us know your location. Thanks!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      do these caterpillars hibernate?

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      On wenesday 10/3/12 my daughter found what appears to be this caterpillar. She put it in a recycled large pickle jar by sunday 10/7/12 the caterpillar built this web like structure. So now we are just in the waighting phase on it to turn into a moth.. will post pictures

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thanks for the info. We found one in our back yard. It's awesome.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      My son and I discovered one in Massachusetts. We have had him for about a month and he is getting so big and plump. The only concern i have is that its fall now and he is still a catepillar and i have read somewhere that the catepillars will sometimes hybernate throughout the winter, we keep him indoors with us. Does that mean that because he is indoors he wont hybernate if he is suppose to?

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      expensivediamonds 5 years ago

      I have to be honest..... black furry caterpillars creep me out. In fact any creepy crawlies creep me out but the lens is very informative well done!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      the information was great but its not the one i saw the one i saw was completely black

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      What a wonderful article about this stunningly beautiful moth. We found one here in Austin and my grandson is fascinated. Thank you for all the information. We plan to raise our caterpillar/moth for him to see.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      My name is Jared and I'm from Dallas and I found my little guy bout a week ago. I call him humidor, but my son calls him sparrow green primm.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thank you for the information! I just found one late last night on my front sidewalk in Dallas, TX and my son is so excited to take care of it and watch it turn into a moth!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thank you for the information! I just found one late last night on my front sidewalk in Dallas, TX and my son is so excited to take care of it and watch it turn into a moth!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      i have one but its all black with oneorange stripe on each side and it is really

      spicky what is it

    • CaterpillarArts1 profile image

      CaterpillarArts1 5 years ago

      That is an absolutely gorgeous moth. Wow.

    • puzzlerpaige profile image
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      puzzlerpaige 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Waiting is the only way to know for sure. But he is probably not molting. For molting, they stay on a branch completely motionless for a couple of days if I remember right. In our experience, some days they crawl all over the place and other days only curl up when held. He may be perfectly fine - let's hope so. Let us know.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks for all of this wonderful information! I have a Giant Leopard Moth caterpillar, and yesterday he was crawling around on me and eating lettuce and this morning he is totally unresponsive and when set down, slowly curls, but not all the way. Is he molting or did he die? Is there anyway to know, other than to wait? Thank you so much!

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      puzzlerpaige 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Hi Mandi,

      Thanks for you comment. Yes, the several we have had have taken 23 days. Since you are keeping close track of yours, I would LOVE for you to let us know if your GLM also takes 23 days. Since we are both in Florida (similar weather etc.) I'm very interested to know. Thanks!

      Also I did not know they would eat bougainvilleas. We have one right now on Lantana outside my back door and I didn't know they would eat Lantanas! I'll add these both to the food list. Thanks!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      This is some of the best info I have seen on these creatures. We found one on the side of our house when it was a little more than an inch long eating some clover-type plants. Identified it as a GLM, but we had this little guy for nearly 3 months. It seemed like a very long time to have a caterpillar, but I couldn't find anywhere online where it said they can maybe take that long to pupate. It finally just made its web and cocoon the other day. For reference, it grew to be about 3 inches long and molted 3 times while we have been keeping and observing it. Aside from the clovers we found it on (which are very small and difficult to keep in fresh supply) it also ate orange leaves, bougainvilleas, and REALLY seemed to enjoy some organic lettuce. I was concerned it would turn into a month while we are put of town next week, but you seem very adamant that they pupate for 23 days? We are in west central florida. I am very eager to see it transform, but sad to see it go since we have had it for so long. Thanks for the info!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      OMG they are eating my Hibiscus which now look like swiss cheese and they just discovered the flowers. They eat the center of the buds. We have milkweed but the Monarch's eat every leaf.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      So Do these Things sting or burn you? Some people say there known to be venomous. When i see those red bands expand it scares me.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      we have about six of these climbing my house are they going to eat my flowers..we also have baby aspens coming up that we planted in the fall..I have geraniums and other flowers in pots and we have fruit trees and vegetables coming up

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks for the information. We have 3 black fuzzy caterpillars but they did not make cocoons on the branches in their habitat. One is pupating on top of the ground and I believe the other two went underground because they are nowhere to be seen. Do you believe that I have giant leopard moth caterpillars or some other type? Also, what do the moths consume once they emerge? I want to have a meal ready for them once they emerge! Thanks for the information.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: my husband got strung on leg he now has scar of worm on his leg, made him so sick it was stuck to his leg and he said it felt like it set him on fire, very painful

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      find them thanks for the info we got three of them they keep

      showing up every year in our yard at least a few of them they eat like crazy seems they move mostly at night that's when we find them

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @puzzlerpaige: Thanks for your answer!

      By iceberg, I meant this type of plant found near my home (SoCal). I'm not sure what it's real name is, but it is probably a desert plant that holds a lot of water. Hope this helps!

      Also, as the moth is nocturnal, where would they hide out during the day?

    • puzzlerpaige profile image
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      puzzlerpaige 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Humm. I did a quick look with the key words "orange legs" and I'm just not sure without seeing a picture. BUT take a look at What's that Bug. On the left hand side of the page, there are 2 groups of caterpillars, one for moths and one section for butterfly caterpillar. Just a warning, you will get sucked in and be there for possibly...an hour...looking a all the wonderful pictures and descriptions of all sorts of bugs.

    • puzzlerpaige profile image
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      puzzlerpaige 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Hi,

      As far as when they pupate, I don't know a number of days from egg to pupate. But ours have gotten to about 3 inches so that might be one way to tell if they are getting close (by their size).

      How high to they tend to climb in preparation for pupating? The several we have watched make cocoons (and turn into moths) have made them about...ummm...in the middle of their containers. Containers being about 8 inches high, so the midway mark at about 4 inches.

      By iceberg plant, do you mean iceberg lettuce?

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks for this helpful info! I've always seen these near my home, but I never actually knew what they were called.

      Quick question: when do they pupate, and when they do, how high do they tend to climb? Any answer would be greatly appreciated!

      Btw: I've noticed that they eat iceberg plant...