Toxic caterpillars taking over UK ‘must not be touched in any circumstances’

Brits are being warned to keep an eye out for toxic caterpillars that can be irritable to humans, fatal to dogs and bothersome to Oak trees.

The alarm was sounded by the Forestry Commission who have warned that the caterpillars "shouldn't be touched in any circumstances".

The suspected culprit, the Brown Tail moth, isn't uncommon in the UK and can usually be found near vegetation in the springtime.

But when the creature is in its caterpillar stage, it can release irritant hairs into the hair, which can cause skin irritation.

As well as affecting some individuals quite severely, these hairs can prove fatal for dogs.

According to Bulldogology, there are insects, like the Brown Tail Moth caterpillar, that have toxins or poison that act on contact or ingestion.

These can cause some serious discomfort to your puppy through tummy aches, diarrhoea or even lesions – making the caterpillars potentially toxic to man's best friend.

Dog owners have also been warned that dogs may inadvertently fall victim to the toxic effects of the chemicals in insecticides too if owners choose to spray them to remove the insects.

Insecticide is such a popular way to get rid of such pests but could also prove to be toxic to your four-legged friend.

However, if your dog picks up one of the creatures on its body, non-haired areas of the body can be affected by rashes or dermatitis, in areas such as the abdomen, muzzle or shaved udders.

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Brown Tail Moths are brown, has a dotted white line down each side and two very distinctive red dots on the back of their tail.

The caterpillars live in groups and you may also see the communal "tents" which they use mainly for shelter from bad weather but also for hibernation in the winter.

These clumps of cobweb-like material will release irritant hairs when disturbed, it is important, therefore to take protective measures when carrying out any treatment.

The Brown Tail Moth caterpillar is not a recognised public health pest therefore the council and most local authorities do not provide such a service.

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