Caterpillars on parade

Fox moth caterpillar Photo by Jenny Lord

Fox moth caterpillar Photo by Jenny Lord

If you’ve been down to Polly Joke car park recently you may have spotted hundreds of hairy caterpillars parading right across the vehicle track, heedless of the passing traffic!

These hairy fellas are none other than Fox Moth larvae. Having hatched sometime between April and June, they’ve been feeding all summer on plants including bramble and heather. In late September, full of food and fully grown, they start to think about putting their feet up and hibernating until March. Maybe this mass parade of caterpillars was a last minute dash to find the best hibernation spot under moss or leaf litter?

Interestingly, fox moth larvae are often seen out in the open as unlike some other caterpillars they are extremely hairy, making them unpalatable to birds. Unfortunately this means they are unaware of the dangers of passing cars so be on the lookout and try not to squash any!

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