TEXANS (KEYE) -- They may look cute, but the Puss Caterpillar, or asp, is sending a lot of people to the emergency room this summer in Central Texas.
Asps can fall from trees, or hide in bushes, and in Sissy Schriber's case she found one in her backyard shed. "He flew off and on to my thigh," Schriber said. "He didn't stay long, because he hurt." Schriber said she learned the hard way what happens when you encounter the sting of a Puss Caterpillar.
"Within five to 10 minutes the swelling started and the burning all the way around," Schriber said. "It felt like someone had taken a hot pan and pressed up against my thigh." Schriber went straight to the emergency room with pain, headaches and an upset stomach.
She said it has been four weeks and the sting still gives her grief. "He was a little guy, but he certainly got my attention that's for sure," Schriber said.
These creepy critters also have the attention of Central Texas doctors. Nathaniel Greenwood is the Medical Director of the Cedar Park Emergency Center, and he said they have seen a spike in asp stings this summer. "Essentially the spines are hollow they contain venom and cause very severe reactions," Greenwood said. He said reactions can be severe enough to cause vomiting, convulsions, a drop in blood pressure and even break down red blood cells so blood does not clot.