If you see a furry creature like this in a tree or on some hedges, whatever you do, DON'T TOUCH IT!   Make sure your kids know this, as well. 

This is commonly referred to as a puss caterpillar, or sometimes an asp, and sightings of them across parts of southeast Texas and Louisiana have become more and more frequent this Autumn.

Ever been stung by a wasp, scorpion, or jellyfish?  The sting of the puss caterpillar is worse and can last up for up to 12 hours!  The fur on these things can irritate a person's skin, but the caterpillar also toxin-filled bristles hidden within that fur.  Touch one of those and you could be in excruciating pain for hours.

When I was a teenager, I helped my dad with his pest control business.  Going under houses to spray for termites, treating trees for 'pecan scab', and carefully poisoning these 'asps' were my least favorite parts of the job.  I just knew one of these caterpillars was going to fall off a tree leaf onto my shoulder...thankfully, that never happened.

I haven't heard of many sightings in Deep East Texas, but areas around Galveston, Beaumont, Lafayette, and Lake Charles seem to be having a banner puss caterpillar season, so be on the lookout and make sure  your kids know not to touch them, especially as they may be out and about for Halloween.