Caterpillars are fuzzy for self-defense. Many caterpillars have spiny bristles or long fine hair-like bristles with detachable tips that will irritate by lodging in the skin or mucous membranes. These make it difficult for some bird species to swallow. In addition, sometimes the bristles will also contain venom. For example, the Lonomia caterpillar produces a chemical anticoagulant of such potency that it can kill a human, causing them to hemorrhage to death. By simply touching this caterpillar’s hairs, a person will begin to bleed uncontrollably for 12 to 24 hours and eventually die if not treated.
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