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  • Writer's pictureCari Mackey

Monkey Slug Caterpillar

Updated: Feb 10

The jungle provides an endless source of fascination and things to learn about. It is an amazing place to spend time observing, smelling, tasting, touching, and listening to nature. However, there's a lot you definitely don't want to touch or taste like fuzzy caterpillars that you might be tempted to pick up and pet but boy-howdy, that can come back to sting you.

Many of the caterpillars of the jungle are cloaked in protective suit of thorny spines with toxin glands at their base that can cause stinging and irritation - some stronger than others so what may look soft is just spiky enough to get under your skin. 

The monkey slug above is neither a monkey nor a slug. Go figure. It is a caterpillar that I found the other day feasting on the pretty plants in our garden beds - you learn to share when you live among nature. Slowly and methodically scissoring along the edges of the leaf this has to be one of the strangest looking insects I have ever seen.

This little monkey beauty has 6 hairy arms covered in spikes that can cause skin irritation but nothing like the puss caterpillar that's covered in venomous hairs along its body that cause a terribly painful sting. The monkey slug mostly feasts on leaves where she easily crawls across with her sucker-covered prolegs like most caterpillars. They are an important part of the jungle eco system as pollinators and a nutrient rich food source for other animals like all the beautiful birds and bats we love so much.

When living in the jungle and among nature you get accustomed to having itchy bites and stings from time to time and after a while you learn to live with it, efficient ways to protect your skin, and simple remedies for those more uncomfortable moments.

If you do find that you get the spikes of a fuzzy caterpillar lodged into your skin the fastest thing to do is remove them with tape. If you are still experiencing a burning sensation, rinse with soap and water, cover the area with a baking soda paste, and if that's not quite doing the trick, a hydrocortisone cream, or calamine lotion works well too. 

Explore our jungle surroundings with us to learn about all the crawly bits that help make this place so magical.

Your Friends in Morrillo,

Cari and Ryan Mackey

Owners and Hosts

Morrillo Beach Eco Resort

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