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Brown tail moth caterpillar Scotland

I found what I thought was a beautiful caterpillar on my strawberry plant. Did a google and its a brown tail moth toxic hairy beast! I have the itchies just thinking about it now. Are they common in Scotland? What should I do? Could it affect my hens?



  • Jarob24Jarob24 Posts: 16



  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,878

    you've done the best thing with it jarob, taken its photo

    I can't think it's too serious, they've been around a long time and it's only in recent times words like toxic have been used, some of the hairy caterpillars can be a bit irritant, so can stinging nettles and all sorts things. 

    Don't get caught up in the modern hysteria about anything that may not be perfectly 100% innocuous.There's room for us all. 

  • waterbuttswaterbutts Posts: 1,214

    What a pretty caterpillar!

    I've just looked at Wikipedia to find out more and it seems that the brown tail of the moth is actually hairs that the caterpillar sheds when it turns into a pupa. The emerging moth then gathers them up and somehow sticks them on its back as camoflage!

    I agree with nutcutlet. These things have been around for millenia and we are all still standing. A bit like the ignore button on this forum, it's always possible to just ignore things that don't appeal and eventually they will wander off and leave you in peace.image

  • Jarob24Jarob24 Posts: 16

    I would never kill anything but I was thinking to relocate it away from my sprogs :-image)

    i used to lift caterpillars - hairy and otherwise - across the road to safety on my way to and from school when I was in primary lol.

    I am amazed to see it in my garden. I found a toad the other day too imageimage My wildlife gardening attempts must be workingimage

    just need to attract a hedgehog nowimage and some ladybirds

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,878

    I'd love to have hedgehogs. Getting a few ladybirds now though

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,201

    nut- I'm definitely getting brave. A couple of night ago I went out when it was dark to lock shed etc and there was a large-ish brown/orange moth stuck inside the tomato house. I opened the door  and gently caught it and steered it outside! Didn't cry or anything! image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,878


    I reckon you've got that one sorted

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,201


    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • HaisieHaisie Posts: 108

    Shudder!imageI would cry.

  • rhonsalrhonsal Posts: 25

    I found one of these on a heuchera in my garden too - didn't know what type it was so relocted it to a geranium patch that i don't really like, and was happy for it to eat as much of that as it wanted!

    When we had a the warmer weather a few weks ago i found a frog in the greenhouse enjoying a dip in the water tray for my cucumber - was quite happy so i just left to make it's on way home when it had finished paddling!

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