Woolly bear caterpillars are not poisonous, nor are they dangerous to humans or other animals. They do have venomous spines, but their venom contains a toxin that only affects other arthropods and insects. The spines are not harmful to humans, but handling them can result in a painful sting from the barbed ends of their setae. Handling them with gloves is advisable in order to avoid being stung. There are about 30 species of woolly bears in North America and Eurasia. Adult panda moths primarily eat nectar and leaves, but they’re also known to prey on arthropods such as Woolly bear caterpillars when the opportunity presents itself; so you should never keep them as pets unless you provide ample space for them to roam—and preferably separate housing for your woolly bears if you have pandas!
Are Woolly Bear Caterpillars Poisonous?
No, woolly bear caterpillars are not poisonous. They do have urticating hairs that can cause irritation to the skin, but they are not toxic or dangerous. The hairs can also cause itchiness and may even trigger an allergic reaction in some people.
Where To Buy And Find Woolly Bears?
- You can find woolly bears in nurseries, online retailers, and some department stores. Before buying any caterpillars, make sure to check the labels and look for the following:
- Make sure the container is clear and not covered with black material or anything else that might obscure light. – Make sure the container has holes in the bottom for proper drainage.
- Make sure the container is big enough for your caterpillars to grow into butterflies. You can also find woolly bears in your backyard. Caterpillars like to hide in the lower parts of trees and shrubs, so check the lower sections of your yard and garden for cocoons and clusters of caterpillars.
What Do Woolly Bear Caterpillars Eat?
- During the early stages of their life cycle, Woolly bears eat plants like oak, maple, and shadbush leaves. As they grow, they transition to eating the leaves of deciduous trees, including ash, birch, elm, maple, oak, and willow.
- As Woolly bears mature, they eat the bark of trees, which is far less nutritious and can even be toxic—especially to young caterpillars. Woolly bears are very efficient at eating; a single caterpillar can consume up to five leaves per day and as many as four per day in the summer months! That said, caterpillars still need water at least once a day and should also be fed fresh (or dried) mulberry leaves to supplement their diet.
- As caterpillars grow, they need more, so keep an eye on the sizes of your Woolly bears, and offer them more food if they’re growing at a normal rate.
How To Care For Woolly Bear Caterpillars?
1. Check the temperature constantly
The first thing that you need to do when caring for woolly bear caterpillars is to make sure that they stay at a constant temperature. If they get too cold, they will die, but if they get too warm, they will also suffer. The ideal temperature range for these creatures is between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, so check the temperature of their enclosure every day to make sure that they aren’t getting too hot or too cold. One thing that you should keep in mind is that the temperature of the room will be different than the temperature of the enclosure, so you need to make sure that the two are kept separate. If the room is too hot or too cold, it can affect the enclosure and cause the woolly bears to suffer. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can also check the temperature by gently touching the enclosure. If it’s too hot or cold, you will be able to feel it by touching the outside of the enclosure. If it feels about the same as the inside of the enclosure, then it’s at an ideal temperature.
2. Provide plenty of leafy food
When you are caring for woolly bear caterpillars at home, you need to make sure that you feed them the right diet. The best food for these creatures is leafy greens, such as romaine lettuce, dandelion leaves, or collard greens. Make sure to feed them plenty of food, but don’t overfeed them as they will just end up pooping out their extra food. To avoid this, check the food every day and remove anything that has been eaten to keep the enclosure clean. You can also feed them a little bit of apple cider vinegar once a week to help keep them healthy and encourage them to grow more quickly. Keep in mind that these creatures will only eat the leaves, so make sure to remove any other parts of the lettuce or other greens before feeding them. Any other parts of the food can end up rotting in the enclosure and making it smell quite awful, which will make it very difficult for you to keep your woolly bears in the enclosure.
3. Be careful not to overfeed
As we just mentioned, you do need to feed your woolly bears plenty of food, but you also need to make sure that you aren’t feeding them too much. If you feed them too much, they will end up pooping out their extra food, which will make the enclosure very dirty and smelly. To avoid this, check the food regularly and remove anything that has been eaten. You can also give the woolly bears a cut down of their food every day to make sure that they don’t overfeed themselves. When you are caring for woolly bear caterpillars at home, you will also need to make sure that you clean the enclosure regularly. If it gets too messy, it can cause the creatures to get sick and even die. You can either do this daily or weekly depending on how messy your woolly bears are.
4. Place your woolly bear in a clear enclosure
While woolly bears can make fantastic pets even if you don’t have much room, they do require a clear enclosure with a mesh lid to keep them safe. Since woolly bears are very delicate creatures, they can easily get caught in a standard wire enclosure and get hurt. Make sure that the enclosure is large enough for the woolly bears to move around in so that they don’t get too cramped. You also want to make sure that nothing can get into the enclosure to harm the woolly bears, so make sure that the lid is a mesh and not a solid piece of plastic or something similar. You can also decorate the enclosure with various objects to make it look nicer for the woolly bears. You can use hammocks or other types of vines to dangle from the top of the enclosure to make it look more inviting and make the woolly bears feel like they are outside in a tree. You can also add toys and other pieces of furniture to make the enclosure more interesting. Just make sure that everything you add is clean and free from toxins so that it doesn’t harm the woolly bears.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
There is a lot of information out there about how to care for woolly bear caterpillars, and if you are unsure about anything, you should always feel free to ask for help. You can talk to the staff at your local pet store or even search online to find out more information. You can even find forums where people talk about their experiences with woolly bears and how they keep them at home. One thing that many people don’t realize when they are caring for woolly bear caterpillars is that they need to hibernate. This means that you will need to keep them inside during the fall months and make sure that they are warm enough. You can do this by hiding the enclosure in a box or wrapping it in blankets.
Tips For Keeping Woolly Bears As Pets
- Although woolly bears make great pets, you should only keep one if you have the space. These caterpillars are social creatures and will be happier if kept with other woolly bears. Bear in mind that they need a large space that can be separated into smaller compartments with plenty of fresh leaves and water.
- If you keep woolly bears indoors, you may want to keep them in an open terrarium or enclosed container so they don’t climb up and damage your furniture, walls, and other belongings.
- If you keep woolly bears outdoors, make sure to provide them with a container that’s protected from extreme heat and direct sunlight.
- Woolly bears are arboreal, meaning they live in trees, so you may also want to provide them with a hammock or other climbing apparatus.
- With the right care, you can keep woolly bears through their metamorphosis and watch them transform into mature butterflies.
Woolly bear caterpillars are not poisonous, but they do have venomous spines that can cause pain to humans. Handling them is not dangerous, but it can result in a painful sting if you’re not careful. With proper care and handling, however, woolly bears are easy, safe, and educational animals to keep at home.