|MadSci Network: Zoology|
Well I think that from the color description. It sounds like you have a Wooley Bear caterpillar, which is the larval stage of the Tiger Moth. Here are some pictures for you to compare it to: http://www.enter.net/~wxdata/wooly.htm This question has been asked before and detailed information can be found at the Michigan Entomology society site on Tiger Moths at http://insects.ummz.lsa.umich.edu/MES/notes/entnote19.html and for caterpillars in general, at the Mad Scientist's site at: http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/nov99/941930502.Zo.q.html But allow me to help you understand the marvel at the wonder of the simple creatures around us. If you think about it, I am sure that you have had freezing cold temperatures and snow before you found it. So it obviously survived that. Insects can survive cold temperature because they produce a type of antifreeze in their system that allows them to go into a suspended state until conditions are more favorable and their food source begins to emerge in the spring. So, while you may be concerned, it would be quite alright to return the caterpillar to where you found it, allowing it to continue it life cycle in it's natural state or follow the directions in keeping it as a pet. Have fun! Aren't bugs great! Elsa Salazar Cade
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