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Discover the mysterious salt marsh caterpillar spotted in Texas

Texans better watch out! A furry and pretty fast little creature has been spotted making its way through Houston, Texas!

This is the time of year when caterpillars begin crawling out of the woodwork. Soon these caterpillars will transform into beautiful winged creatures. But even though we all know about the very hungry caterpillar, these caterpillars spotted in H-Town were anything but cute!

This fluffy black caterpillar was spotted in Houston by a KHOU 11 producer, prompting many to ask, “What the heck is that?!”

Look how fast it goes! At first glance it looks like a roll of dust in the wind! Someone also pointed out that it looks like a soot sprite, straight out of Studio Ghibli films!

But what exactly is this creature that seems to be dragging its butt like it's late for a very important appointment? According to KHOU 11, who had to do some research on the little guy; That's a salt marsh caterpillar! And I think the main question on everyone's mind was: “Is this dangerous?!” I have good news – it is completely harmless.

I think this video was the first time I learned that fluffy caterpillars don't turn into butterflies, they turn into moths! The salt marsh caterpillar turns into a tiger moth!

According to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, the scientific name for it is Estigmene acrea. They won't sting or bite you, but unfortunately they can damage your garden by feeding on foliage! KHOU 11 concluded that these caterpillars are in abundance this time of year! So next time you're outside, watch your step!

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