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Like Caterpillars?

April 4th, 2007

Occasionally, I get submissions from folks and if I think they would be of interest to my readers, I blog them.

This was submitted to me complete with a great photo by Ronna von Knorring, a transplant from Kansas who blogs here.

As a fair number of my readers seem to be very curious about the creepie crawlies who live here (no, I am NOT talking about those guys hanging around the bars in Jaco), I thought I’d publish her submission! Enjoy!

Costa Rica CaterpillerI don’t know much about these beautiful caterpillars other than that the have a nasty sting. They were out in FORCE on our southern Pacific coastline property in Costa Rica in October 2005. They seemed to really enjoy eating the leaves from our balsa tree as well as crawl into our home. We would find them making their cocoons in the strangest places like a fold in a hammock, in a dark corner near our ceiling and in tarps hanging here and there.

I had seen enough shows on the Discovery Channel to know that the “flashier” and “brighter” some animals and insects are, the more harm they can cause. Having encountered another fancy caterpillar previously that I got too close to, I knew to leave these well enough alone.

One day I was at our outdoor sink when I saw one that had fallen from the tree overhead. Not wanting for it to be in a place where it couldn’t get out, I picked up a nearby leaf and scooted the beauty on to it. As I attempted to toss the leaf and caterpillar over our hedge, I got struck by one of the barbs. OUCH!

They really pack a punch. I instantly felt the pain that is similar to a wasp sting. The intensity lasted about 10 minutes.
I’ve seen pictures of the Morpho Butterfly (the blue one) in its caterpillar stage, and it is even more extravagant looking than this one. As beautiful as they both are, and as “soft” as their spikes might seem to the touch, stay away from these, and other, character filled creatures.

For readers who want to learn more about the various bugs, snakes and other critters, check out The Real Costa Rica.

5 Responses to “Like Caterpillars?”

  1. Kristi on April 6, 2007 11:20 am

    I just wanted to comment and leave my appreciations for your site and blog. I am applying to teach English in Costa Rica for a year, so I have been researching what the country is REALLY like… little did I know I’d find exactly what I needed all in one spot. 🙂

  2. jhon & sonia on April 8, 2007 4:15 pm

    Leaving kansas for costa rica on saturday of this week…just finding your site today…looking forward to another incredible costa rican vacation hanging around family and friends in my adopted country….pura vida

  3. Alan on April 16, 2007 11:41 am

    Good post. It amazes me that questions about “bugs” are one of the most popular questions I get about Costa Rica so your post cracked me up.

  4. Tom on May 23, 2007 8:23 am

    Surely the bugs will inherit the Earth. Even here in South Florida, (paved paradise) we have many strange and potentially lethal critters.

    I think people are curious about bugs because it is almost a primal fear of the unknown and a feeling that you can’t control the situation.

    Like Charlton Heston’s movie-Lenigen versus the Ants or Arachniphobia. The little boogers just keep coming.

  5. Kimberly Croc on November 2, 2008 2:41 pm

    Well, i guess I’ll have to watch out then, because I am going to Costa Rica this summer(2009), and I have already seen some of the creepy little things hiding in a dark corner. (scorpions, Tarantulas, termites, monkeys, spiders, frogs+toads,) All the good stuff. My Papa has a house out there, and we go almost every summer. Great surf and boogieboarding, not so great pest control. WOOHOO! Viva Costa Rica!