Eight-month-old Kenzie Pyne was loaded into an ambulance and taken to hospital to remove caterpillar parts stuck to her cheek and tongue. (Krystal Dawn Pavan/hand-out photo/The Canadian Press)

Baby had surgery to remove caterpillar stuck in her mouth

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.

Kenzie, seen in a photo provided by her mom, is recovering after putting a venomous caterpillar in her mouth. (Krystal Dawn Pavan/hand-out photo/The Canadian Press)


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!!”

The caterpillar that turns into a silver spotted tiger moth has stinging hairs that can cause a burning sensation. (Government of British Columbia)

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

Categories: Health
Tags: , , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

For reasons beyond our control, and for an undetermined period of time, our comment section is now closed. However, our social networks remain open to your contributions.