Who knew we had poisonous caterpillars in Canada? I always thought one of the advantages, and reasons for putting up with life in the frozen north, was that it was too cold in winter for really scary creatures to survive. Not true.
Krystal Dawn Pavan was outdoors on her deck in the western city of Nanaimo with her two children on May 31, 2018 when her eight-month-old daughter Kenzie started wailing. She noticed Kenzie had some black pieces in her mouth so, she got a wet cloth to clean out what she though was a bug.
She was horrified to see that the pieces were fused to the inside of Kenzie’s mouth. Pavan called an ambulance and the girl was taken to hospital in Victoria, 111 kilometres away. She was sedated for an hour-long surgery to remove tentacles and feet from the inside of her cheek, and hairs and spine from her tongue.
After spending the night under observation, Kenzie was released and taken home. Her mom says she is in high spirits and recovering well. Meanwhile, Pavan has posted a message on her Facebook page warning parent to beware of “those cute fuzzy orange and black caterpillars!!”
Allergy to caterpillars can be dangerous
The caterpillar is that of a silver spotted tiger moth. It has stinging hairs that cause a burning sensation or rash in sensitive people. I have since discovered that caterpillars can cause an allergic reaction in some people. Usually, this only involves a rash, but in some cases there can be a more severe, even deadly reaction.
The only Canadian province that is home to the silver spotted tiger moth is British Columbia.
With files from CBC and Canadian Press