Giant Woolly Bear Caterpillar Discovered Near Las Cruces, NM, Predicts Global Warming for Decades to Come


Bunk grew up in the eastern U.S. Regional lore maintains that the severity of each coming winter can be predicted by examining the size of the brown band of the Woolly Bear Caterpillar:

According to legend, the severity of the upcoming winter can be judged by examining the pattern of brown and black stripes on woolly bear caterpillars–the larvae of Isabella tiger moths. If the brown stripe between the two black stripes is thick, the winter will be a mild one. A narrow brown stripe portends a long, cold winter.

This specimen from September shows no black bands at all, suggesting that the winter of 2007-08 will be one of the warmest on record and we’ll all be grilling hot dogs and burgers in January. You can find a couple of curious videos of these giant freaks of nature here.

Here’s a normal sized one, sleeping:


[Quote from here. First image from a site with an unfortunately inappropriate name that we won’t post on this site. Second image from here.]

Author: Bunk Strutts

Boogah Boogah.

115 thoughts on “Giant Woolly Bear Caterpillar Discovered Near Las Cruces, NM, Predicts Global Warming for Decades to Come”

  1. Karen–
    Firstly, there is no such thing as a “capterpillaer.”
    Secondly, it’s not a freakin’ llama, it’s a freakin’ alpaca. (“Alpaca” means giant woolly bear caterpillar in the language of the Jemez Pueblo.)
    Thirdly, and most importantly, IT’S A FREAKIN’ JOKE!


  2. nicole– What I meant was, it’s a joke, as in a freak of nature. What’s also bizarre is that these huge insects have no natural predators. It’s amazing to me that they haven’t spread much farther than Albuquerque. Could be because they prefer to eat fois grass, so they proliferate in the regions where it is plentiful.


  3. MT–
    Oh man, it’s big. Really big. Like NewFoundland Dawgass big, except bigger. Not as lethal as an Emu, though. [Video links were already linked in the post.] Big. Bigger than a couch with an appetite. Bigger than my sister-in-law after Thanksgiving. Bigger than the bailout and the crank on taxes that’s gonna follow. Bigger than Hillary’s and Michelle’s cabooses combined. We’re talkin’ big. Bigger than Oprah…


  4. i wonder if these things are takeing over then how come they havent been in the news more? i bet this is fake or some camera editing trick cause everyone would have heard of them by now


  5. tylerdurden–

    They’re not taking over, even though they’ve apparently been around for a long time. Why isn’t it all over the news? The truth is that the news media picks and chooses what they think is important in order to sell newspapers and sell advertisements on radio, TV and websites. It’s obvious to me that the reporters don’t think that giant caterpillars are important, so they ignore them.

    Many people have seen them, or at least have seen their remains, on the sides of desert highways. Giant woolly bear caterpillars are mostly active at night, and are sometimes killed while crossing the dark roads.

    Once they die, their fur falls off within a couple of hours. To the untrained eye, they look like abandoned mattresses. Within a day, their carcasses dry out and darken in the sun, and they appear to be no more than delaminated tire treads to the passersby.

    Hope that clears things up for you. Here’s a link to another site that discusses another unreported story:


  6. you sound so sure of yourself that you’re convincing. lol!
    i wonder if anyone actually believes this stuff… 🙂

    PS. that mummified fairy was confirmed an April Fool’s joke a while ago. But nice try. 🙂


  7. Heheh..this is really funny..n how everyone thinks you’re stupid LOL..I can tell you’re actually smart, well, atleast you know how to spell..LOL..n what’s up with everyone typing “it” when they mean “it’s”
    I’m scared of caterpillars n this one OMG..I would run hysterically if I see this in real life.


  8. Wow, this made me laugh until I cried! I can’t believe these people have never heard of giant woolly bears before, or spellcheck. I have a giant woolly bear sweater that is fantastic (not a giant sweater, a sweater made from giant woolly bear fur), though with the prediction of global warming I might not need it. Please keep us posted on the giant woolly bear sightings.


  9. aimee– Wow. Those sweaters are rare and valuable. How ’bout sending me a .jpg image or two of you wearing it while pretending to be a giant caterpillar? If the photos are entirely bitchin’ I might update the post.
    And then we’ll all mock you mercilessly.


  10. i was in the midst of a google search for ‘giant caterpillar’ when i arrived at your site. holy smirking alpacas, this is good stuff. it took me all of 2.3 seconds to forward your site to a plethora of peeps who would appreciate the shizzle out of tacky raccoon. cheers!


  11. wow every1 on here that thinks this is real is like obvioulsy very gullible cuz this is an alpaca that the way it was laying looked like it didnt have legs and or it had something happen to it or was born withought legs …. caterpillars have legs and lots of them


  12. kissa–

    Thank you for you comment. Just to be courteous, I’ll ignore the spelling and grammar issues and I’ll address your main points:

    1. “Every1” on this thread doesn’t think this is real, otherwise there would be no discussion;

    2. Alpacas don’t lay. Birds, reptiles, bugs and insects do, and caterpillars are insects. Their eggs have significant differences from birds and reptiles, and even from other insects;

    3. Since caterpillars are insects, like all other insects it has 6 true legs on its thorax. This one, in an obvious defensive maneuver, has hidden its 6 legs as well as its multiple protolegs from the view of predators (like the photographer) who might chew them off during its slumbertime;

    3. The word “gullible” cannot be found in any English language dictionary.

    Hope that clears things up for me.


  13. Wow, I thought the photo and story were funny and then I read the comments, good to know that the 3 hours I had set aside to look for intelligent life this weekend can be put to better use. Maybe I’ll bake a pie.


  14. Why Thank you Bunk…

    Now would they just shave the hair off for pelts? They didn’t send this handsome creature to Wooly heaven did they?

    I would touch em’ and roll him right into my barn, give em a bath and give it a peanut butter sandwich on whole grain bread.


  15. Dan– Again you have some awesome insights.

    According to a Franciscan priest by the title of Alonzo de Lugo, the Jemez Pueblo did not capture and skin these magnificent creatures, but would trim them, late in the season, and collect the fur. This fur would then be woven into blankets, clothing, and as teething toys for their infants, in that order, so as not to waste the valuable material.

    Then, they would poke the caterpillar again and it would roll into a ball once more. The local natives would celebrate the return of the Woolly Bear to the exact place where they had found it. These celebrations would be the pagan equivalent to Eoster, except that the celebration occurred prior to the first light frost after the autumnal equinox.

    Sorry for the verbosity. “Aimeerenee,” in the comments above, says she owns one of the rare Woolly Bear sweaters (knitted with the toes and teeth of the Jemez Pueblo ancestors) but hasn’t forwarded a photo yet. Go figure.


  16. oh forgive me, I’ll send a picture very soon. I just had my sweater out last week for the autumnal equinox but stored it safely away since it is not quite cool enough outside to wear yet. I’m very excited for the first frost but it looks like I might have to wait a few weeks!

    I admit that I am a little hesitant to forward a picture since I don’t wear the fur as well as the woolly does… of course everyone knows that wearing black and brown together is a fur pas, but who cares about fashion when you’re wearing woolly bear 🙂


  17. Crystal– No reason to run, as they don’t. Just be calm, leave a trail of fish crumbs from the nearest water hole up to 10 feet from the woolly bear. They like that stuff, and will ignore you as you watch them scarf down the crumbs, bite by bite. They really are harmless, until they run out of fish crumbs. NO LOUD NOISES.


  18. Oh. My God…After reading your comments, I do believe you know alot about this not so little critter, but you mentioned that this is a picture of an alpaca. I’m sorry. I get easily confused. If these majestic creatures actually do exist, then I know what I want for my birthday.


  19. Wow. That is practically incredible. The greatest discovery ever made. The butterfly that comes from that thing must me amzingly ginormous. Maybe that’s what Mothra was before it fought Godzilla…


  20. Kait–

    Thanks for checking in. A few weeks after the spring thaw of the New Mexico tundra, this amazing creature creates a burrow (not a donkey, a hole in the ground) and spins a coccoon. A few weeks later it emerges as a De Havilland Giant Moth.

    I remember reading a story linking it to Mothra. If our crack team of webminers can find it we’ll update the post.


  21. Ella– Let me answer your question by turning it back on you: “diputs nikcirf taht uoy era ftw eduD?” If that doesn’t answer your question, please reread the thread as this topic has been discussed since enO yaD.


  22. Amanda– That’s another amazing example of “incomplete fraternal twinning.” Usually in such rare (but not uncommon) cases, the twins are conjoined at the body, and occasionally at the head. This example of a white sycophant attached perpendicularly to the neck of its apparently healthy sibling is VERY unusual. Thanks!


  23. lies– No offense, but we have a hard time believing people who can’t spell and aren’t capable of employing simple capitalization and punctuation in order to bolster their own biased amateur opinions. Our research and reportage stands unblemished, unlike your face. =)


  24. مهلا!!!:-)BUNKير وأنت تعرف أنني لا أعتقد أنني كنت أتمنى سنة جديدة سعيدة ، 2009 كان عاما جيدا للغاية بالنسبة لي ، وأعتقد أن عام 2010 سيكون أفضل. وأتمنى لكم سنة من الصحة الجيدة والأوقات الجيدة والفكاهة! السلام والحب والسعادة ، Advant Guarde ، غباوة ، والكثافة ، والحرية ، والفن والتعبير ، والأرض الأم والأب السماء..


  25. Bunk, I don’t know which I like better – your humor or your attention to grammar and spelling. You would be a formidable opponent in Balderdash (shoot, maybe you hold the original patent).

    Thanks for the laughs!


  26. ak ma– Glad you brought that up. I corrected the grammatical error in my comment on 8 March. I’m slipping. Never played “Balderdash,” but it’s probably similar to real life, in that the first liar never stands a chance.


  27. Hey Bunk,

    I googled that and it is cool aye? Now I can try and find some of my long lost relatives in Sweden and Norway and If I do…. there ya go! The age of “you never know” Technology whats next!! anyway…. ha. Well Bunk I’ll tell ya I sure would love to sit and have a coffee or tea with you sometime, somewhere… Please let me know if you’re ever in either the New York City area, or mid New England!
    oh, yea 68 degrees, in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts on Saint Patricks Day 2010! Beee you tee full day. Hope yours wa too.


  28. Dan– Thanks for the invite. I got a better idea. If you’re ever in the New Mexico area, I’ll meet you there and we’ll go on a giant caterpillar hunt. Catch and release, of course, and I’ll show you how the ancients made masks and whirligigs from the fur.


  29. Bunk: I was looking for woolly caterpillar photos when I came across your site. (I’m doing a paper on weather lore.) I’ll be laughing inappropriately all day, now. Thanks!


  30. Jim– Much research went into this post as you can see from the comments above. Although we can’t guarantee your paper will get an “A”, it’s very likely that you’ll gain an increase of least one grade point if you choose to use any of the information contained in this post. Be sure to quote the source so that whoever reviews your paper knows that you did your homework and didn’t just make up a lot of crap.


  31. Although your post amuses me it’s the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. First of all Woolly Bear caterpillars have sleek solid black heads not fur covered. Secondly they turn into Tiger moths and finally you should really do more research before trying to bs everyone, but hey thank you for the laugh.


  32. cassandra–

    You are mistaken in your assumptions that all insects of the same species are alike, as there are many sub-species in all flora and fauna that have distinctly different characteristics – Euphorbia, for example. After all, I had sleek solid blackheads when I was in my teens, but that’s another story.

    There are many subclasses of caterpillar/moth/butterfly. Some are larger, some smaller; some toxic, some not; some are furry, some are clean-shaven.

    Not all caterpillars turn into Tiger Moths. I won’t insult your own lack of research on this fascinating topic, as we accept all forms of irrationality on this blog.

    Oh, and you’re welcome.


  33. Hey Bunk!

    How are ya’ gov? Hey yeah you know I think I had a good stroke of Euphorbia earlier this morning…hehe
    I was thinking about Tiger moths,,, are there Lion moths too? And bear moths? Lions, and tigers and bear moths, Oh FLY!!
    And oh man… sleek solid blackheads were a real pain in the skin! Yup, the teenage years… all us teens in junior high living among each other in un-perfect hormonee… Hey did you have a good Sunmmer?
    PEACE☮, LOVE♥, LIGHT☼ and G CLEFS ♪,


  34. Bunk, I know you’re a man of good taste, just so happens Bass is my fav ale. So we’ll make it two pitchers of Bass ale, I’ll buy the first two ~ Yeha!


  35. Bunk

    Sounds good! I have my best driver, it’s called “The Designator” ….. Good for one shot.


  36. Julia–


    You found one of the rarest species, Esurientes Sine Capite Genistae, more commonly known as “Brush Beasts.” Not found in the Americas, these gentle giants roamed the Great Plains of Europe during the realm of the Oswatters, an extinct species of large ProtoMeerkats who preyed upon them.

    The Oswatters roamed and romped around the continenent for approximately ten years after the last ice age ended and are documented in many spoken oral Nordic legends that were spoken only orally and passed on from generation to generation by story telling.

    The Brush Beasts survived extinction from predation due to their sheer numbers. They are hard to spot these days as they mostly burrow underground where they shed their fur in order to make nests.

    Hope that helps your research.


  37. Hi Bunk, hi Julia!

    Yes there’s the legendary mop with the yellow squeeze bucket..
    The only other product their fur is used for that I know of is hair extensions for contemporary rock musicians, rock stars and even some reggae artist’s as well.


  38. In addition,

    I believe a producer in Hollywood was traveling in Europe and stumbled upon one of the very rare nests that Bunk mentioned and what he found was not only a brush beast but a VERY intelligent rare sub species of the “Esurientes Sine Capite Genistae” and this particular “smart” brush beast was friendly but quite hungry and frail because of a very harsh winter. The producer took the brush beast back to Hollywood and once brought back to health, he used the beast in a series on TV The Addams Family and gave it a name, ‘Cousin iTT’ and even taught ITT to drive a three wheeled car.


  39. Julia– Due to the density of the fur of the subspecies, it has traditionally been used as cooking fuel by Lapps for holiday celebrations, in ethnic recipes requiring a sort of “flambé.” The fur produces a fast burning hot flame accompanied by a popcorn-like sound, and a foul odor that drives bad spirits away.

    Dan– I see you’ve done your homework. Kudos.


  40. Ollie–

    Yep, it’s a real digital image alright, and we’ve got climate change now, this very minute. That image was shining away on your computer screen, using electricity and emanating photons while your computer belched heat.

    Do I contribute to Climate Change? You betcher AGW I do, just like every other living thing on the planet do, as do a lot of dead things, as do a lot of things that have never been alive (like maybe the sun?).

    I’m doing my part to prevent Global Cooling. We don’t need no stinkin’ ice age.


  41. Hey Bunk

    How are you sir? This winter here in New England has felt and acted like an ‘Ice age’… Out my window there’s still a snow pile 10 feet high. I hope the big Woolies made through this winter. It’s been tough on everybody. I have three suets and a half a bag of birdseed out there and the beautiful ‘winged animals and little four legger’s have JUST started to come around and eat.
    I was a bit worried!
    Peace and g clefs,
    Dan in Massachusetts
    *hey i havent forgotten about the bass ale I’m gonna buy ya


  42. Liars are they?
    What, you mean as far as the weather indications? I’d really rather Have an ale with you, but I can scan a Bass Ale and email it ;-(


    1. it’s been a while i know, but i just thought i’d let you know that i imported a few, and tried the recipe with garlic and butter, just recovered actually, hence the delay in getting back to you, i think the garlic was off. Also they took an awfully long time to arrive, it seems they escaped on the plane on the way over, and it took an age to find them, one of them camouflaging itself against the bars on the pilot’s spare jacket, then there was the quarantine, i’m surprised the little devils survived. The good news is, i have some more on the way, and am going to try to breed them to sell the fur, and the meat separately, not sure what the butcher will have to sayt about it, but here’s hoping..


  43. Is Wolly really alive in this world, Bunk ??? N isnt Wolly dangerous to touch ??? Most caterpillar are poisonous at all. Omg, I thought Its like a big doll, not looking as a caterpillar. Many people would think that Wolly is the one disgusting creature, but I didnt think so. You know Bunk, I cant predict how big it is. Ehm,…. I imagine Ill sleep with Wolly beside me, n embrace him as my bolster n pillow.. hhahahhaha lol. just Like Ur posting….


  44. CathAndro– Aimeerenee said something similar up thread. Those vests are true collectors items these days. The most valuable ones are made from the smaller woollies, for obvious reasons, and they work just as well, if not better. Don’t be fooled if someone tries to sell you a Manc vest. They’re not the same.


  45. Eni Lid– Finally there’s a catchy nickname for this fetching aminol- “Wolly!”

    Wolly is not dangerous to touch, unless you scratch his/her/its back. Once a giant woolly bear feels it, he/she/it will insist that you finish scratching every inch of its carapace, and can become dangerously violent if you stop too soon.

    NEVER scratch a giant woolly bear unless you’re prepared to spend hours (and possibly days) to prevent a vicious and potentially lethal attack.


  46. You know I own a butchers shop and I kill and eat giant woolly bear caterpillars all the time. They’re very slow which makes them easy to catch. I also skin them and make clothes, rugs, blankets, etc.


  47. RP– Your butcher shop is world renowned and I’m honored to have you here. Do you use the mirror trap to catch them? You know, get a Sonotube, cover one end with reflective mylar so the Woolly sees another Woolly and has a stare down with itself. It’s mesmerized while you cap the other end and roll it off to the truck. A quick spray of Raid through a 1-inch diameter side hole dispatches them quickly without much dangerous thrashing, and keeps the meat tender.


  48. Hi Bunk! Well, I respect the respectful hunter, me, most of my hunting is done with a 35mm (still old school!) and having learned what I have about these big woolies, I say “Save The Giant Woolly Bear Caterpillars!!!” Unless someone is lost and having no choice but to survive in desperate need of food or warmth. Hey Bunk Happy Spring 2013!


  49. otterh– This post is still No.1 on the google for “giant woolly bear caterpillar.” Another one that garnered some fun comments was Climategate Summarized. Both made me smile.

    dan J– To save any endangered species, all we need to do is classify them as food, unless of course they’re inedible; in that case we classify them as clothing. Fortunately these caterpillars fall into both categories and, until they proliferate to the point of becoming household/garden pests, we can enjoy the warmth and sustenance that the fuzzy big lunks offer us.


  50. cindy–

    Excellent question.

    Since the Giant Wooly Bear Caterpillar is closely related to the annelid family, it gets much of its sustenance by burrowing for microbes underneath the desert surface, much like a Blue Whale [balaenoptera musculus] in the ocean.

    Its front appendages are well adapted for digging, and the caterpillar may live subterranean for days or weeks. During these long burrowing/feeding periods it keeps its mouth open, enjoying all the nutrients it can find, before it resurfaces in search of carrion.

    Hope that helps you.


  51. Joe–
    So sorry to hear your misfortune, but don’t blame the garlic. When preparing “Pillar Patties” you must dress the carcass properly, and ALWAYS remove the cloaca in its entirety. Wear rubber gloves and afterwards disinfect the preparation area with bleach.
    Never eat any part of the cloaca.

    As for the rest of your story, I think you’re pulling my chain a bit, but it’s true that the Giant Woollies are masters at camouflage. Even at close range you might not spot them, but their breath often gives them away. Best description I read compared Giant Woolly Bear breath as a mixture of wet puppies and raisins.

    Awesome. Only two degrees:
    Giant Woolly Bear Caterpillar–>Tremors–>Kevin Bacon.


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