I live in the western Slope of Sierra Nevada mountain range, in Pollock Pines. We are at about 4000 ft. For the last few weeks, I have seen these caterpillars everywhere. I didn’t really see them when it snowed, but now that the sun is out again I see them just everywhere. I have tried seeing what kind they are but cannot locate them. I think they are a moth? I want to keep one in a cage until it changes so my 3 yr old can experience it, but not sure what they eat. We have tons of pines here, mostly cedar but other types as well. Any ideas?
Well, the Silver Spotted Tiger Moth caterpillar does look similar…and may be the caterpillar you have. Tho your photo does not show the distinct black pencil markings on the photos I have found nor is it as light colored as all the other silver spotted caterpillar pics, but it is as close as I have found so far. Thanks for the tip – Anonymous.
If it is the silver spotted tiger caterpillar, it is found in forests of douglas firs tho will feed on other conifers. They are found in the western states.
According to bugguide – “Larvae feed from August until winter, at which time they spin webs for shelter and hibernate (they sometimes come out and feed on warm days, even as early as January). During the late spring they disperse throughout the tree for a short while, then in May and June find secluded places to pupate.”
“Note of Caution: Like several kinds of wooly-bear-type caterpillars, these have venomous, stinging hairs, which can cause a burning sensation and/or a rash in sensitive people- look, but don’t touch!
For this reason these may not be the best caterpillars to try to raise – Please handle with caution!!